Unoffended by Fitna

Fatma Aykut on Dutch populist Geert Wilders’ film Fitna, in Der Spiegel:

Wilders’ film offers a prophecy for “Holland’s future”: bloodied children will cower before their abusive mothers, gays will be hanged and young girls will be subjected to genital mutilation.

If the topic of Muslim integration in Europe weren’t so important, it would be tempting to treat the film as a caricature of itself and smirk at it a little. Wilders portrays his subject so mercilessly that it’s impossible to take him or his film seriously. It’s hardly politically correct to admit, but “Fitna” does have a certain explosive power. On the other hand, is it even possible today to make a film critical of Islam without fear of assassination, protests and violence? I ask this question as a Muslim woman.

I am sure that many people in Holland, and here in Germany, share Wilders’ beliefs. Personally, I’d like to know what Interior Minister Wolfgang Schäuble has to say on the matter.

The tricky thing about the film is that Wilder’s does manage to show one facet of the Muslim experience in Europe. Annoyingly, it’s even in documentary format. It would be downright foolish to be against the film “on principle.” Wilders portrays a mindset that undoubtedly exists in Amsterdam, in Paris and in Berlin.

But he chooses to ignore certain realities of Muslim life in Europe: The high rate of unemployment among immigrants, the slim chances of receiving a good education, the daily encounters with racism and the countless immigrant children — particularly boys — who are abandoned.

So which came first — the chicken or the egg?