Mona Charen

 It is perfectly obvious to all but the most obtuse observer, which of course includes the editorial board of The New York Times, that an excess of tolerance is what got Holland and the rest of Europe into this mess in the first place. Holland has leaned over backward to welcome immigrants from the former Dutch colony of Indonesia -- to the point where a majority of children under the age of 14 in Holland's four largest cities are Muslims. Muslims now comprise 6 percent of the population, but their numbers are growing rapidly through large families and continuing Muslim immigration (about 30,000 per year).

 Some 300,000 of the 1 million Muslims in Holland fervently support the radical imams and mosques that preach jihad against the Jews, the West and all infidels. The Dutch have prided themselves on tolerating everything from legal prostitution, to euthanasia, to freely available marijuana and other drugs. But in tolerating the intolerant Muslims, they have swallowed a serpent.

 In the wake of van Gogh's murder, many Netherlanders have come to recognize this. Seventy-five percent told pollsters they support "radical" measures for dealing with terrorists, and Deputy Prime Minister Gerrit Zalm announced that the Dutch cabinet had "declared war on Islamic extremism." Those who don't support Holland's tradition of free speech have been publicly invited to leave the country, even if they are citizens, and the government is preparing to close radical mosques altogether.

 The New York Times would not approve. But sane observers will recognize the Dutch as the first Europeans to display a healthy survival instinct. It is not too late for the rest of Europe -- yet.

Mona Charen

Mona Charen is a syndicated columnist, political analyst and author of Do-Gooders: How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help .
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