The Netherlands, traditionally one of the most liberal countries in Europe, is now at the centre of a malicious campaign to defame Islam and the teachings of the noble Book of Allah (swt). The Netherlands and other western countries claim to uphold values of tolerance, equality and justice. Yet when it comes to Muslims these values suddenly disappear. Torture, kidnapping and detention without trial are now acceptable if applied to Muslims. Muslims defending their lands from occupation are labelled ‘unlawful combatants' where the Geneva Convention and other international norms are suspended. As Tony Blair, a former British Prime Minister once said: "the rules of the game are changing."
In the Netherlands a new film attacking the Holy Qur'an as a ‘fascist' and ‘intolerant' book is currently in production and expected to be screened on Dutch TV in the New Year. Spearheading this campaign against Islam and the noble Qur'an is Geert Wilders, Dutch Member of Parliament and head of the Dutch Freedom Party.
Wilders fanatical hatred of Islam under the guise of ‘free speech' and intellectual debate are seen clearly in some of his statements. Among some of his sayings are:
"Ban this wretched book (Qur'an) just like Mein Kampf is banned."
"Muslims living in the Netherlands should tear out half of the Koran."
"If Mohammad lived here today, I would propose chasing him out of the country with peck and fetters."
Wilders is not the first Dutch MP to see a political opportunity in attacking Islam. For years his predecessor Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a former asylum seeker turned politician who rose to fame through her open rejection of Islam, spearheaded this propaganda campaign. Ironically by referring to herself as an ‘ex-Muslim' this somehow gave her credibility to become an ‘expert' on Islam and in particular Muslim women. She was given a platform to speak in academic circles, published books and wrote a screenplay for a ludicrous film called ‘Submission' which claimed that the Holy Qur'an encouraged violence and rape of female family members!
Hirsi Ali was forced to leave the Netherlands after being publicly discredited for lying on her citizenship application. When arriving in Holland in 1992 she claimed to be fleeing from an arranged marriage back in war torn Somali. This gained her a sympathy vote among the Dutch and gave her credibility for her lies that Islam oppresses women since she had experienced this ‘oppression' first hand. However, a Dutch television programme later exposed her claim as a lie after members of Hirsi Ali's family said they had no knowledge of an arranged marriage, and that she had actually been living comfortably in Kenya for 12 years not Somalia.
Despite being exposed as lying about her experiences, she is still championed by the West as an authority on Islam in some circles. After leaving the Netherlands she secured a research post at the neo-conservative American Enterprise Institute (AEI) in America where she now lives.
It seems in some western intellectual circles that hatred is the only qualification required to become an authority on Islam. All other considerations such as credibility and trustworthiness are simply thrown away as is the case with Hirsi Ali and now Geert Wilders.
Geert Wilders has been a member of the Dutch Parliament (Tweede Kamer) since 1998. Like Hirsi Ali his rise to fame is due to his opposition to Islam. In September 2004 he left the ‘People's Party for Freedom and Democracy' (Volkspartij voor Vrijheid en Democratie VVD) and formed his own political party - ‘Party for Freedom' (Partij voor de Vrijheid PVV). At the time he was the only member of the newly formed PVV in the Dutch Parliament.
In polls released following the assassination of Theo van Gogh, the director of the anti-Islamic film ‘Submission' in November 2004, it was estimated that Wilders' party could win as many as 29 (out of 150) seats in the Dutch parliament. When the uproar over the killing of Van Gogh subsided, this number declined to a low of one in October 2005.
In February 2006, after the Danish Jyllands-Posten published blasphemous cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad (saw), it rose again to three seats. Currently the party has nine seats, making it the fifth largest party in parliament and the third largest opposition party. Wilders has certainly made huge political gain from his opposition to Islam.
This campaign is not confined just to Geert Wilders. The Dutch government attempted to pass a bill making it illegal for Muslim women to wear the Islamic niqab (face veil) in public making it the first European country to do so. The bill failed to pass although Wilders is attempting to re-introduce it along with a long list of other things that should be banned for Muslims. These include the Qur'an, niqab and Muslims' Dutch citizenship.
The Dutch government's contempt for Muslims was clearly shown in December 2006 when they awarded the Dutch UN peacekeepers medals for their role in handing over Srebrenica to the Serbs during the Bosnian war of 1992-95. The Serbs massacred over 8000 Muslims in July 1995 after the Dutch handed them the city. Video footage shows a smiling General Mladic handing wrapped gifts to a grateful Dutch commander Col. Tom Karremans. Later Col. Karremans was photographed toasting the Serb ‘victory' with General Mladic in Potocari, a village just outside Srebrenica.
More recently, a series of Dutch government firework safety adverts caused controversy after they depicted Muslims in a negative and stereotypical light. Although firework safety should be an issue of utmost importance to protect children and others from injuring themselves, the Dutch government instead used them to demonise Muslims and Islam.
The history of western animosity to Islam is centuries old. A French writer, Count Henri Decastri, wrote a book in 1896 entitled ‘Islam' in which he stated;
‘I cannot imagine what the Muslims would say if they heard the tales of the mediaeval ages and understood what the Christian orators used to say in their hymns; all our hymns even those which emerged before the 12th century emanated from one concept which was the cause of the crusades, these hymns were filled with hatred towards the Muslims due to the total ignorance of their religion. As a result of those hymns and songs, hatred against that religion became fixed in people's minds, and the erroneous ideas deeply rooted, some of which are still carried nowadays. Everyone used to regard the Muslims as polytheists, disbelievers, idol worshippers and apostates.'
In the 11th century the propaganda against Islam was used to fuel the crusades against the Muslim holy land of Palestine and Al-Quds (Jerusalem). The savagery and hatred of these ‘religious' crusaders is well documented. On their entry into Jerusalem they slaughtered so many inhabitants that according to the account of one of the crusaders "the slaughter was so great that our men waded in blood up to their ankles."
Despite the atrocities of the crusaders, when Salahudeen Ayyubi re-opened Jerusalem two centuries later he did not take revenge on them and instead gave them safe passage back to Europe. His actions exemplified the objective of jihad , which is to make Allah's (swt) word the highest and not to simply slaughter and kill people in an indiscriminate holy war.
The crusaders however never forgot their defeat. They worked for centuries to destroy the Islamic Khilafah and after the First World War when the Khilafah was in a weakened and declined state they managed to succeed in their quest.
In 1917 when Britain occupied Palestine, General Lord Allenby planting his sword in the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, boasted "Now end the Crusades!"
In July 1920 when the French general Henri Gouraud took charge of Damascus, he strode up to Salahudeen's tomb next to the Grand Mosque, kicked it and exclaimed, "Awake Saladin, we have returned. My presence here consecrates the victory of the Cross over the Crescent."
The present day crusades being launched against the Muslim world led by America and Britain are simply a continuation of this age-old conflict. Only with the re-establishment of the Khilafah will the Muslim world be in a position to unify itself behind an Imam who will protect Islam and the Muslim lands from attack and use all the mechanisms of State to combat the lies and false propaganda being made against Islam and Muslims.
Muslim narrated from Al-Araj from Abu Hurayrah from the Prophet (saw) that he (saw) said: "Indeed the Imam is a shield, from whose behind (one) would fight, and by whom one would protect oneself."
One of the pillars of the Khilafah ruling system is the Department of Information (Al-I'laam). This department is responsible for implementing the information policy of the state. The Khilafah will create a strong and effective information and media policy to project the correct image of Islam internationally. It will be utilised to combat the negative and malicious propaganda being pumped out of western governments using the full infrastructure and resources of the Khilafah. It will protect the honour and dignity of the Holy Qur'an and our beloved messenger Muhammad (saw).
During the time of the Prophet (saw) the propaganda against Islam started very early on during the Makkan period. Once the Da'wah started to take root in Makkah and shake the societal relationships, the Quraysh initiated a relentless campaign of libel and propaganda against Islam. This propaganda was not just confined to Makkah but spread to neighbouring tribes and even abroad to Abyssinia.
The Quraysh carefully planned how they could best discredit Islam especially during the Hajj season when Makkah would receive a huge influx of visitors. After a lengthy debate, the government of Quraysh agreed to accuse the Prophet (saw) of being a sorcerer possessing the Sihr al-Bayan (magic of words) and went around telling those in Makkah not to listen to him. Abu Lahab, the Prophet's (saw) hateful uncle followed him around everywhere telling people not to listen to his message.
One day Al-Tufayl ibn ‘Amr al-Dausi came to Makkah when Allah's Messenger (saw) was there. He was an important nobleman, very intelligent and a poet of some understanding. Quraysh approached him immediately and warned him that this fellow Muhammad (saw) had done them much harm, that he was a sorcerer and that his talk separated men from their families. They exclaimed that they feared he might have the same effect on him and advised him not to speak to Muhammad (saw) or listen to a word he said.
Al-Tufayl went one day to the Ka'bah and it happened that Allah's Messenger (saw) was there, he listened to some of his speech and found it beautiful, so he said to himself, "By Allah! Here I am, an intelligent man, a poet, knowing perfectly well the difference between good and evil, so what is to prevent me from listening to what this man is saying? If it is good I shall accept it and if it is bad I shall reject it." He followed the Messenger of Allah (saw) to his house and told him about himself and what was on his mind. So Allah's Messenger (saw) invited him to Islam and recited to him the Qur'an. He became a Muslim and declared that it was the truth. Then he went back to his people and proceeded to call them to Islam.
Ultimately, all the ways and means of propaganda pronounced against the Islamic Da'wah failed. The sheer force of truth reflected in what the Messenger of Allah (saw) was calling for, defeated all rumours, lies and propaganda, and the light of Islam dissipated all attempts at discrediting it.
Similarly today we as Muslims must combat the hateful propaganda being waged by various institutions, governments and groupings against Islam. We must portray the true message of Islam through carrying the Islamic Da'wah following the example of the Prophet (saw).
In the Netherlands members of Hizb ut-Tahrir have taken on this responsibility and have launched a campaign to protect the Holy Qur'an in particular in light of Geert Wilders upcoming film. Their website and online petition can be viewed here.
We must also work tirelessly for the re-establishment of the Islamic Khilafah which can practically combat this propaganda on an international level, and whose foreign policy has one aim, which is carrying the Islamic Da'wah to the world.
Although the propaganda campaign by Quraysh failed to prevent the establishment of the Islamic State in Madinah they continued to harass the Muslims and were a constant obstacle to the Da'wah. The difference between Makkah and Madinah however, was that now the Prophet (saw) was head of an Islamic State that was able to utilise all the mechanisms of a State to combat their propaganda and plans against the Muslims. Therefore Muslims should never lose hope in Allah (swt) victory. Although the enemies of Islam plot and plan to undermine the Deen and its message they will ultimately fail.
Allah (swt) says in Surah al-Anfal:
"They plot and plan, and Allah too plans; but the best of planners is Allah." [TMQ Al-Anfal:30]