This development should help to upset the mainstream media's apple cart of epithets like "right wing," "far right," "hard right," and so forth for those who criticize Islam. And it goes to show what should be abundantly clear across the political spectrum: this is ultimately not a "right-wing" issue, even though those from that background have often been more willing to speak out.
Rather, it is a fundamental issue of human rights: free speech, freedom of conscience, and all the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness upon which Sharia openly infringes through the death penalty for apostasy, the subjugation of non-Muslims, and so many other abuses.
Will the nanny-state-in-jackboots come after this politician as it has Geert Wilders? "GroenLinks Calls on Left to Criticise Islam," from NIS News, October 12 (thanks to David):
THE HAGUE, 12/10/10 - Leftwing Green (GroenLinks) leader Femke Halsema believes that progressive politicians and thinkers should dare to make more criticisms of Islam. They are too often accepting the pressure that radical Muslims put on the Islamic community, in her view. Halesema says it is high time that leftwing politicians view the position of women and homosexuals within Islamic communities just as critically as they do when it comes to Christianity. This does not happen at present because there is too much black-and-white thinking, in her view. "There are two flavours: you are either a multiculturalist or an Islam haters," she said in a lecture on freedom of religion in Utrecht's Jacobi church.
Halsema condemns this view. As far as she is concerned, everyone can believe how and what they wish, as long as it is a free choice. "Many Salafist, orthodox views have broad support within the Dutch Islamic community. (...) These views are forcefully imposed from above and have great consequences for the freedom of women and homosexuals in particular." "The passion that we exercise to this day to give practising homosexuals access to Reformed Christian schools (...) we should also display to ensure Islamic gays and women are allowed to make their free choice," said Halsema. Halsema considers that leftwing politicians should support the board of a Belgian school which wants to introduce a ban on headscarves to prevent their forcible imposition. On the other hand, everyone who wants to wear a headscarf of their own free will should be able to do so, including police officers, according to Halsema.
Halsema seems to be trying to establish her own concept of a middle ground here, and she seems to leave open the idea of a problematic "radical" Islam that is distinct from Islam's core texts and teachings. Notably, and unfortunately, she also does not mention Geert Wilders by name, at least in this report, despite the fact that he is at the center of any discussion of criticism of Islam in the Netherlands right now. Nonetheless, she will likely still find herself accused of "hate," and perhaps even "incitement" for pointing out some of the elephants in the room.
"I am convinced that there are thousands of Muslim women in the Netherlands who - due to prescriptions enforced by Islamic authority and complied with faithfully by fathers, uncles and sons - have too little freedom of movement. (...) In my own neighbourhood, I see too often that girls are abused if they do not wear a headscarf," said Halsema afterwards. "That I call coercion. Just like suggesting that it is your own fault that you are raped if you do not wear a headscarf."