This page is from the original Don't Let Me Stop You blog. We have moved to a new site: Visit DLMSY on WordPress.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Holland's New Immigration Test

The Netherlands has just instituted a test that potential immigrants must pass before moving to Holland. As Radio Netherlands reports, the test is not exactly easy, but what's attracting attention is the content. Applicants are required to watch a DVD about Dutch culture, which includes discussions (and video) of nude beaches and homosexual acts (just kissing). The applicants are quizzed on their knowledge of Dutch laws and customs, and it's obviously hoped that those who don't want to live in a society that functions this way will screen themselves out of the immigration process. Applicants can re-take the test, if they fail, but it does cost 350 euros and the study guide, including DVD, is another 65.

This actually seems to us a pretty good step towards dealing with the current situation. Applicants from many countries, including the US, Australia, New Zealand, and the rest of Europe, are exempt from the test requirement.

The decapitation of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh by a Muslim born in the Netherlands was a shock to the system in Holland. Van Gogh, whose career was based on flouting convention, had had the audacity to make a film critical of the treatment of women in Islamic societies. While one may insult civilized people without much personal risk, there is a large group of Muslims eager to kill anyone who suggests Muslims are violent.

The killing caused a backlash against Dutch Muslims, and some more attacks by Dutch Muslims on non-Muslims. Members of the Dutch government had to go into hiding to escape murderous Muslims threatening to kill them. The Dutch looked nervously at their large, unassimilated Muslim population. The Muslims complained of racism and "Islamophobia." A wall painted with "Thou shall not kill" near the scene of the murder, had to be painted over so as not to offend Muslims.

We have previously noted that "Islamophobia" simply doesn't exist. A phobia is an extreme, irrational fear of something. Given the behavior of a large minority of Muslims, "fear" and distrust of Muslims in general is completely rational. Since many Muslim terrorists (e.g. the London bombers) appeared to be nice, normal people right up until they revealed their murderous intent, it would irrational not to take that into account (see TSA).

Moreover, is there any other culture in the world more tolerant than the Dutch? Perhaps the US is more welcoming to outsiders, but for pure, anything goes, tolerance, the Dutch lead the world. In a fashion that would make US liberals proud, the Dutch are even trying to tolerate intolerance, although that's a fool's errand.

The good thing about this test is that it just exposes potential immigrants to the reality of life in the Netherlands. If some feel that's not for them, it's best to discover that before moving there, of course. The test also lays out the Dutch laws on wife-beating, a no-no, and female genital mutilation ("circumcision" just doesn't describe this barbaric practice accurately), another no-no. A society certainly has the right, if not the duty, to only select immigrants willing to accept the values of that society.

Naturally, Muslim leaders throughout the Netherlands hailed the test as a valuable tool for educating potential Muslim immigrants about Dutch mores. Yeah, right. Maybe in an alternate universe (one with no shrimp, for example). In this one the most vocal Muslim organizations once again displayed their well-known, near-infinite capacity for taking offense.
But Abdou Menebhi, chairman of Emcemo, a Moroccan interest group in Amsterdam, said the film was just another example of how the Netherlands was trying to limit immigration from Muslim countries.

"This isn't education, it's provocation," Mr Menebhi said. "The new law has one goal: to stop the flow of immigrants, especially by Muslims from countries like Morocco and Turkey."
Only those like you, Mr. Menebhi. Only those like you.

To be fair, at least a few Muslim voices were raised in support of the test:
But Mohammed Sini, the chairman of Islam and Citizenship, a national Muslim organization, defended the film, saying that homosexuality is “a reality.”

Sini urged all immigrants “to embrace modernity."
Interestingly, the Dutch even made an expurgated version of the DVD without the nudity and guy-on-guy action. This is for applicants living in Islamic paradises, like Iran, where possession of the regular DVD could lead to a death sentence.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Pakistan Police Arrest 1,400 Kite Flyers

Our initial thought on seeing this headline was that the Taliban must be in charge in Lahore, Pakistan. This kite ban is not based on theological grounds, however:
Pakistan Police Arrest 1,400 Kite Flyers: "LAHORE, Pakistan -- Skies normally alive with colorful kites to mark a spring festival were largely empty Sunday after police arrested 1,400 people over three days to enforce a ban imposed because of a series of fatal accidents.

The government of Punjab province, of which Lahore is the capital, banned kite flying during this weekend's annual Basant festival after seven people died from being slashed by kite strings reinforced with wire or glass fiber.

People fly kites despite a police ban in Lahore, Pakistan on Sunday, March 12, 2006 as the skies above Pakistan's cultural capital are customarily festooned with colorful kites to mark a spring festival. Police enforced the ban that followed the deaths of seven people killed by glass-coated or wire kite strings and arrested 175 people, an official said.

Fliers often strengthen their kite strings before dueling with opponents in a game that is won when one flier cuts another's kite string."
We're reminded of the old line from W. C. Fields, "Ah, tiddly winks, I saw the championship played in Europe. Many people were killed." We never knew kite flying was so dangerous. Still it seems like banning the wire and glass strings might have been more sensible than a blanket ban on kites.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

More About Wafa Sultan

The LA Times has an article about Wafa Sultan, the Syrian-American woman who appeared on Al-Jazeera and spoke out strongly against militant Islam. Islam Fatally Flawed, Says Voice From Corona via Al Jazeera - Los Angeles Times:
A Syrian native, Sultan said she walked away from the faith of her family 27 years ago, when she witnessed the murder of her professor by members of the Muslim Brotherhood, an extremist organization then battling the Syrian government. She said the men burst into her classroom at the University of Aleppo in northern Syria, where she was a medical student, and gunned him down, screaming, "Allah is great!"

"That was the turning point of my life," she said. "I was traumatized. I lost faith in God -- or their God -- and started to question every single teaching of ours."

She said that, a decade later, after practicing medicine in Syria, she and her husband moved to the United States, where she initially worked as a cashier and studied English at Cal State Long Beach. Today, the couple have three children. Her husband, David, runs an automotive smog-check station. She said she is waiting for acceptance into a residency program before she can be fully certified to practice psychiatry here.

But Sultan said her prime passion has always been speaking out about Islam, something she finally had the freedom to do after arriving in the United States. She began writing regular columns for a local Arabic-language newspaper. Five years ago, she began contributing to a website,, after the Arabic reference to "the critic."

The Sept. 11 terrorist attacks brought her critiques new audiences. Last year, she began appearing on Al Jazeera, the world's most popular Arabic-language television network. Her appearance last month, however, attracted particular attention because she praised Jews for working hard to rebuild their community after the Holocaust, favorably comparing it to violent reactions by Muslims to their plights, whether in response to satirical Danish cartoons or subjugation in the Palestinian territories.

She said she has received death threats and been accused by Muslims of pandering to Christians and Jews with her critiques of Islam.

But Sultan insists that her motives are pure. "I am not against Muslim people," she said. "They are my people. I am just trying to change their mentality and their behavior."
Some Muslim leaders are quoted in the article as saying Sultan is nothing special and that reform of Islam can only come from within (i.e. through them). In their view it's only infidels that are making a big deal about this. Unfortunately, we don't have 500 years to wait for these guys to get the job done. We can count on them to stand up to those preaching hatred in the name of Islam, as soon as it's no longer dangerous to do so.

Technorati tags:

Monday, March 13, 2006

Now I've Got to Vote for Him

We've always been the kind of person who hates to throw his vote away on a Demopublican candidate. Fortunately, SobekPundit has now expanded his candidacy to the Libertarian Party:
But it is my official view that the kind of binary thinking that leads today's politicians to say things like "both sides of the aisle" is exactly what's wrong with America. So today, I offer you, the reader, my official bid to break down the two-party system, as I announce my candidacy as a Libertarian, and as Your Next President(TM)!
Best of all, he's promising to do as little as possible, if elected. What more could we ask? Those things he will do largely involve throwing sand into the gears of government. So line up, sign up and re-enlist today.