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Murder in Amsterdam: Liberal Europe, Islam, and the Limits of Tolerance Paperback – August 28, 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
Theo van Gogh was a classic "dorpsgek" or village idiot. Being of Dutch descent myself, I know the type only too well. As a provocateur, van Gogh was an equal opportunity insultor; he offended Christians, Jews, Muslims and about every other social grouping. In his film "Submission," which angered the Muslim community, there were verses of the Koran projected onto the body of a naked woman. It was a puerile and tedious excercise, the kind of thing that gives art a bad name. If he had been as clever as he thought he would have known there would be consequences - the provocation worked only too well.
Mohammed Bouyeri was rather typical of European-born Muslims; in fact, he had many similarities with the 7/7 and Madrid bombers, and also, for that matter, the 9/ll bombers, particularly Mohammed Atta. He enjoyed the freedoms of Holland while at the same time feeling estranged from the mainstream. Dating, playing soccer, and smoking pot had its attractions, but when he saw that women had the same rights, he retreated to the mosque and started listening to the radical imams.Read more ›
I suspect this book will be unwelcome in many circles because it makes a very good case that jihadists come in many forms and sizes, from lunatics like bin Laden to the single acts of murder by an equally crazed Islamist by the name of Mohammed Bouyeri, the assassin of Theo van Gogh on a street in Amsterdam as van Gogh rode his bike to work.
As someone who has spent a lot of time in Holland over many decades, the effect of van Gogh's murder was far greater than that of Pym Fortuyn, who was also killed for being "politically incorrect."
This book does some critical questioning of whether the West will wake up soon enough to understand that the centuries of change in European values have run in the exact opposite direction of millions of immigrant Muslims who seek to return to the "good old days" of Sharia law, even if most of its proponents have never lived under it. The second and third generations of Muslim youth all over Europe, who have alienated themselves from modernity, for a myriad of reasons, are a real threat to the values that the Western "elites" take for granted and are so arrogant that they cannot understand that millions of Muslims think they must be destroyed to save the world for Islam.Read more ›
The author links the death of Pim Fortuyn with that of Van Gogh, in showing how sudden celebrity brings with it repercussions that the Dutch seemed to feel didn't exist in their liberal society. But then Holland has not always been such a liberal-minded country, and Buruma explores some of the historic roots that led to the steady influx of immigrants that have come to dominate cities like Amsterdam, much to the chagrin of the proud Dutch.
The book is an antidote to the smugness of European liberalism that seems to feel that assimilation is natural in a secular democratic society. Events such as the deaths of Theo Van Gogh and Pim Fortuyn not only wipe the smiles off complacent faces, but send shock waves through the country. Buruma demonstrates how illiberal liberals can be when confounded by the nature of successive waves of immigrants who hold onto their religious beliefs instead of adopting the conventions of the new secular state.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Ian Buruma is a native Dutchman who teaches at Bard College. He wrote this book after the murder of Dutch film maker Theo Van Gogh by Islamic fundamentalists, and with the recent... Read morePublished 10 months ago by NRL
Very illuminating description of the reason societies don't integrate easily. Presents themes that help to describe tensions between conservatives in the US and Mexican immigrantsPublished 14 months ago by Doug Schmidt
It was hard to get into this book on the murder of a Dutch media figure. I wasn't familiar with the people and most of them were pretty unpleasant, but perhaps that was part of the... Read morePublished 16 months ago by IthacaNancy
It deserves a Five Star. My problem is that to be a five star, I have to Love the book. This is not a book to be loved. It is a book to be read and be disturbed by. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Jim Altfeld
Ian Buruma is a cracker-jack journalist in many regards. He provides great back-story, he can make the complexities of a political position elegantly simple, and vice versa, and... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Daniel G. Schaeffer