by Anders Raahauge
An increasing number of persons, who have received death threats from Islamists, are starting to behave in a completely inappropriate manner. They spread courage, not fear.
At first sight, ruling by fear is completely feasible. If you truly frighten people, you will, for a while, get things the way you want. But this method is primitive and outmoded. The faults of this method are particularly exposed when applied in a modern society. This happens when radical Islamists use force to back their demands for a change in European policies and for a gradual spiritual revolution in Western Europe, where they obviously desire progress for the Umma, the world-wide Islamic community.
The intention, obviously, is for fear to spread like ripples in the water and influence all those not directly implicated. Those who actually induce fear have a limited range. The Islamists have no armies to match the Western arsenal, which is why they have to resort to terrorism. By singling out the individual, their aim is the control of many.
This is the actual logic behind acts of terrorism, where the media are to spread the terror to millions, and behind the countless minor acts of violence in the streets, where word-of-mouth rumors are meant to spread the fear. Islamism is a macho movement, setting their force on display like tribes in the desert, mafia clans or bikers do. The most important tool is the fearful attitude, which for the sake of conviction must be exercised on a regular basis to show the result of brute force of will.
But this method works better in a less than modern society. The quite effective Western intelligence agencies are up and running, and every week new foiled terrorist plots are reported in various European countries.
At some point in time we might also tackle the Quran schools where young kids are taught the hateful macho attitude towards the infidels. And because modern society actually is able to protect the individuals under threat, the behavior of these individual takes a peculiar twist, a twist most inappropriate in the eyes of the fanatics. The condemned have received their death sentences so that we all may start to tremble, but they are now acting so audaciously that they no longer have their intended effect. Quite to the contrary.
Bodyguards and protected addresses are certainly not going to recreate a normal life. The protected person is still confined. But in the unhappiness anger is kindled, and combined with the physical security this produces unexpected results.
The first to get angry was Salman Rushdie. He reacted to his death sentence in 1989 with despair, but then laid down a plan: He converted to Islam and pointed up his Islamic upbringing in Mumbai — but did that cancel the fatwa? No way, responded Teheran, This was all about setting an example. This truly annoyed Rushdie, who then threw all caution to the winds and started authoring his critical articles against Islamism. These are important landmarks, and they influence opinions, even to the point of reaching Tøger Seidenfaden [editor of Danish daily Politiken], for Rushdie is out of the ordinary. The Islamists had created a tremendous enemy.
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Ayaan Hirsi Ali is pulling in the same direction. And she might as well carry on, as her death sentence is as immutable as that of Rushdie, and she is living under maximum personal security anyway. She is now diligently undermining the cause of the Islamists, for the pen is mightier than the sword, not least when yielded by her. Also, PR-wise it is a self-inflicted wound to force such an intelligent, Somali woman into hiding.
The same thing happens now for Geert Wilders, condemned to death by Al-Qaeda. He increases the heat by publishing his movie Fitna, but they can, after all, kill him only once. Why flatter your executioner? They might as well get the full load, he thinks.
In a short time Wilders will be trumped by the Iranian-born Dutch politician Ehsan Jami, who carries a death sentence for leaving Islam. Jami is finalizing a movie that is supposed to beat the crap out of Fitna. For this one will be blasphemous. Back in November I talked to the Dutch author Leon de Winter. He knows Jami and told me that Jami was furious because he was living the life of a prisoner. This fury led him, already back then, to speak seriously offensive things of the ‘prophet’.
These victims have nothing to lose. Probably even more of them, faced with a death sentence, will start reacting contrary to the intention. They are able to do this because they live in modernity, not as clearly visible and unprotected individuals in the desert. They were meant to grovel, but instead are choosing to mock their persecutors. This stops the spread of fear from their persons. Instead, they instill fresh courage in their surroundings.
At first shot these stubborn individuals cause intense desperation with the ‘responsible’ politicians. Wilders almost had his freedom of expression abrogated ahead of the publication of Fitna.
In the longer run, however, the ‘responsible’ will thank these desperadoes, for without their efforts the threat culture would slowly take root in Europe. It thrives and feeds off minor victories. Short-sighted politicians do not understand this, but down the line they will realize that these kamikaze pilots are in the position to short-circuit the primitive violence. The naïve might believe that the bully is softened by giving in. But the admirable victims of the bullying have learned a different lesson.