Friday, February 11, 2005

Hirsi Ali on Honor killings

Representative Ayaan Hirsi AliJust two weeks after liberal (VVD) representative Hirsi Ali came back from hiding in the US, she said in an interview on February 2, 2005 in news paper 'De Volkskrant' that the Dutch government should act much tougher to prevent honor killings. She says it is her mission to help the women who are now in hiding.

She says it involves "hundreds of woman and most likely more". The Police does not collect statistics on honor killings, but a local police force in the area around Den Haag, had this autumn already 40 reports of woman who where seriously threatened by their own families. Hundreds of women are in hiding. Hirsi Ali:

"And that are only the woman who had the guts to file charges. We have an enormous problem in the Netherlands and we do not know how to handle it, it is a blind spot"

Hirsi Ali says that in The Netherlands every body was always focused on discrimination. But very selectively: only discrimination from Dutch against immigrants. But not the live threatening discrimination against woman within the immigrant community it self.

"It is time to wake up now. Recently two other woman where killed"

"Honor killing is a part of something bigger. It has to do with the sexual moral within the Islam, the wish to control the sexuality of the woman. There is a virginity cult. A woman who does not play by the rules, may be repudiated, beaten, murdered"

"There is a state within the state. It is all very structured. Somebody reports to the family: I have seen your sister or daughter in the disco with a stranger, although we had forbidden it. At that moment the family honor is violated. The family will meet to deliberate. In the meeting somebody with authority, the father or the oldest brother, will force the decision"

"The perpetrators know how the Dutch law system works. They send a minor male of the family to the girl, because he will get lower sentence. The boy does his job and report to the police and says he did the act in an impulse and the case is closed. The prosecutor has a murder, murder weapon and perpetrator. Case closed. Ready. The whole family stays silent and the prosecutor leaves it by that"

"Why don't use the intelligence service against the families of those hundreds of woman who are now in hiding?" and "Why don't we continuously monitor them and wire-tap their phone's?"

She says that with the assistance of the intelligence service the families can be target effectively. She also points to the new terrorism laws that make it more easy to use intelligence information in courts. She also blamed Justice minister Donner:

"Each time he says: 'honor killing is horrible and unacceptable', but he does not do anything about it ".

“Parliament just let him get a way with it. I was again surprised how this issue was handled here in recent weeks. About big problems there are so many commissions here, that talk with so many ministers that it is impossible to address the outline of the policies"

"This way it is impossible to verify the governments actions effectively. We all ask our own, fragmented questions, and we are put off with fair words and loads of papers. We are drowning in details of the bureaucracy and accept that. This way, parliament does not function well. In stead of solving problems we have become the problem our selves"

In the interview she also criticizes Islam schools, because they are bad for woman emancipation and indirectly part of the problem. She also blames the Christian party (CDA) for that, because they are dogmatically protecting the freedom of education [every body can start religious schools and receive full government grants].

Prime minister BalkenendeShe also attacked Dutch prime minister Balkenende (CDA) who said while she was in hiding in the US, that The Netherlands was doing better [as in normalized].

Hirsi Ali: “I think that is beside the point. There is somebody murdered for his ideas [Theo van Gogh]. Two parliamentary members can go nowhere [She her selves and Geert Wilders]. This is very serious. If we now going to say things are getting better, I am afraid we are going back to denying reality again. BTW just after he said that, that robbery [See also: Robber Dies] was in Amsterdam and 300 [Moroccan] people where screaming on the streets. The ‘us’ versus ‘them’ feeling showed to be very strong. There is tension between different groups in the population.”

When the reporter says that some people say she is too aggressive and that she has nothing achieved during the two years she in parliament. Hirsi Ali says:

“When I came to parliament I said: I want to put the suppression of Muslim woman on the political agenda. In that I am successful. Every body talks about it. There is a growing public opinion that says: we won’t be silent about it. That is a lot of progress in two years”.

The reporter questions if she reaches the Muslims. Hirsi Ali:

“Certainly. And loud they are. The reaction is mainly defensive, but that is always the case. Change does hurt. And before there is change, there is confusion. The immigrants should free them selves of the victimization culture. The anger I take for granted. A century a go the Dutch feminist had to go trough that as well”.

Wouter BosIn opposition of prime minister Balkenende is the socialist (PvdA) leader, Wouter Bos, who said that the country was in state of discomfort and alienation. Ministers like Verdonk (VVD), he says, are also guilty because they talk about Muslims and Dutch as if Muslims are not Dutch. Hirsi Ali:

“No, that is not what Verdonk is doing. What she said is reactive. It are the Muslims them selves who profile them selves as Muslims. Verdonk also said that many Muslims couldn’t handle criticism very well. We should not do to difficult about that either. That is just a fact. What I notice in Wouter Bos is that he has no substance in his arguments. He suggests that Verdonk is to blame for the atmosphere that lead to the murder of Theo van Gogh. With that he denies the role of the socialist had in it for the past 30 years. That is not only cheap populist rhetoric but also a lack of self-reflection. In that we won’t follow him.”

In her own party some criticize Hirsi Ali because they say, it is not liberal how she involves her self in the religion of others. Hirsi Ali:

“There is only one answer possible: they started, not me. If religious people involve them selves with public life, and base their public behavior on their religion, it is the task of a liberal to show the limits of religion. I fight for freedom. That is very liberal. Liberalism, the urge of humans for freedom has triumphed over some extremist features of Christianity and Judaism, communism and Nazism. Now Islamism. In the end, every individual strives for freedom and prosperity. This is the reason why we will win this fight. There is only, still some effort needed”.

This interview got a lot of attention of Dutch media. The leftist press, saw it coming: Hirsi Ali is going over the top at made a big point about her request of using the intelligence service to fight honor killings.

Justice minister DonnerDonner reacted on Dutch radio and said that honor killings are not terrorism but a "regular crimes". He does not want to use the new terrorism laws against it. Also the national police coordinator for honor killings, W. Timmer, says he sees nothing in the plans of Hirsi Ali. The intelligence services have an other purpose. "I never had to use that source", Timmer said during a meeting with parliamentary members.

After all media attention on this affair, the tone was set for the parliamentary commission; the parliamentary representatives questioned Donner about his policies. But they where not satisfied. None of them. Minister Donner and Verdonk refused to execute a parliamentary request of last year, in which extra measures against honor killings where requested. The parliamentary members where not satisfied and requested a special emergency debate in parliament. Hiris Ali asked her liberal party for a denunciation of minister Donner because he did not take the matter seriously.

Again the press saw their change to go after Hirsi Ali. The press said, that other liberal members also thought she was going to far and they called her a loose cannon. And in deed the party did not give the official denunciation. But that was only because Donner in a special emergency debate in parliament promise better (although the liberal (VVD) leadership had to work hard in the background).

In the debate, parliament was unanimous, Donner had to do something now. Donner said it was all a miss understanding, he said that due to a lack of time he had not yet executed the parliamentary request. He promised to come very soon with protective measures for immigrant woman who are fear to become a victim of an honor killing.

All in all, Hirsi Ali, was quite effective in putting pressure on Donner and bring the story to the public. But within the liberal party (VVD) not everybody agrees on Hirsi Ali her ideas. They do not accept her independent political operation, which is indeed quite uncommon in Dutch parliament, where strong party discipline normally prevails (Just like in the former soviet union). Others object, that Hirsi Ali makes the liberal party (VVD) look anti Islamic and that it self is anti liberal, they say. But others seem to be just old fashioned jealous and mask that with all kind of arguments.

See also:
Woman will kill Hirsi Ali
2/11 and the movie makers
Islam & Socialism
Where lives Hirsi Ali?
Hirsi Ali is back!

Other bloggers:
Rant Wraith - Are 'Honor Killlings' Terrorism?

Source: nu,, Volkskrant


Blogger Thomas the Wraith said...

Thanks for your work. I read your blog nearly everyday.

I read about Hirsi Ali's efforts to get the Dutch security services to investigate "honor killings" in Expatica. I agree with her that "honor killings" are aimed at the large society and should not be considered as ordinary crimes. I wrote more on the subject.

Again, thanks for your work. For those of us in America it is invaluable.

5:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's funny, none of these "honor killings" happen in Indonesia with its 90% muslim society...and it's a developing country...

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