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A Dutch Muslim Anonymously Appeals for Introspection
by David J. Rusin • Jun 18, 2008 at 11:08 am
On June 10 the newspaper de Volkskrant published an intriguing essay (translation here) by a "highly educated Dutch Muslim woman" writing under the name Samira al-Onal. She challenges Muslims in the Netherlands to stop demanding special treatment, to reject religiously inspired violence, and to let go of "superiority, sanctimoniousness, and ignorance."
The broadsheet agreed to run the piece pseudonymously due to the author's fear of reprisals for sharing views such as these:
Al-Onal goes on to argue that European Muslims are largely to blame for the distrust, even animosity, directed at them by their neighbors. That also applies to a highly visible manifestation of such unease: the rise of populist politicians like the Netherlands' Geert Wilders, producer of the anti-Koran film Fitna. "He was not just dropped by a stork, was he?" she asks. "If we had given a bit more respect to others, he would never have sprung up."
Assuming that the author is who she claims to be, her letter underscores two important realities. First, moderate Muslims do exist and recognize the need to initiate a reform movement within the Islamic faith. Second, many of those moderates are fearful of openly speaking out against the radicals.
The former is good news for both Muslims and the West; the latter is good news for Islamists.