Reasoning with people who want to spike the heads of their adversaries

Nadette De Visser at the Daily Beast reports on a recent demonstration in The Hague (Den Haag):

“Death to the Jews” chanted the crowd waving the black flags of the Islamic State, or ISIS as it used to be known. They were looking for new supporters for their cause, the creation of a worldwide caliphate answering to the man who now calls himself Ibrahim: a zealot too radical even for Al Qaeda who has stormed through Syria and Iraq carrying out mass executions, crucifying rivals, beheading enemies. But these marchers were not in Syria or Iraq; they were in The Hague in The Netherlands. And their message was one tailored to the disaffected young descendants of Muslim immigrants in Europe.

“We are Moroccans,” went out the cry over a portable loudspeaker. “The French killed the Moroccans but they didn’t kill them all; the grandchildren of the few men left protest against the West, America and the Jews.”

Many of the demonstrators covered their faces with Palestinian scarves or balaclavas. “Anyone who doesn’t jump is a Jew,” someone shouted as the whole group started jumping in a scene that might have been ludicrous if it weren’t for the hateful message. “Death to the Jews!” the crowd shouted in Arabic.

No. No “Death to the” – ever. No matter what comes after the “the” – whether it be Jews, Arabs, Gazans, Palestinians, Zionists, Sunnis, kaffirs, Haredi, atheists, whores, gays – whatever. No calls for mass murder, no demands for genocide, no shouts for extermination, no paeans to ethnic cleansing – none of that. No incitement to murder.

And of all places in the world that you would expect to be hypersensitive to that? The Hague?? Which knows a thing or two about genocide and what sets it off?

All rallies in Dutch municipalities require permission from the local city council, the police and the public prosecutor’s office. The ISIS demo had been granted permission on the grounds that it was in support of the detained Dutch recruiter for jihad, Oussama Abu Yazeed. But the fact that the mayor’s office in The Hague either was unaware the rally was ISIS-linked or deemed it legitimate regardless has raised serious questions about the city council’s judgment.

Dutch Labor Party (PVDA) member Ahmed Marcouch, a former policeman who sits on the parliament’s security and justice committee, was one of the many who criticized the local government: “Unacceptable!” he tweeted. “Threatening journalists and shouting racist statements is punishable by law.”

Marcouch, who has Moroccan roots himself, wants the Muslim community in The Netherlands to be more vigilant in opposition to ISIS and similar groups. The footage shot at the protest clearly shows a number of very young boys: “What are these kids doing there in the first place?” he asks. “ISIS is pure barbarism, it is bloodthirsty,” Marchouch told The Daily Beast in an interview. “We can’t allow them to win our children away from us.”

Well said. He sounds like a Dutch Maajid Nawaz or Tehmina Kazi. Good on him; may many more like him speak up.

The Hague’s Mayor Jozias van Aartsen recently claimed on Dutch radio that no red lines were crossed by the protests, but such declarations are facing mounting incredulity when pictures circulate on the Web like one posted by an Iraqi-Dutch citizen in the IS-ruled Syrian city of Raqqa. It showed him surrounded by the severed heads of seven men spiked on an iron fence. The photograph looks as if some parts of it may have been faked, but the sentiment is genuine enough. Beheadings, for ISIS, have become a kind of sport.

Many of the young people who end up surviving this horrific war for the caliphate will haunt Europe when they come back home, and security services all over the continent and, indeed, in the United States, are concerned. On Friday the Dutch public prosecutor’s office finally announced that an investigation into ISIS in The Netherlands is underway.

One thing is certain, ignoring ISIS will not make it disappear and reasoning with people who want to spike the heads of their adversaries on fences should not be an option.

There’s always this fatal magical-thinking optimism, that if we just ignore it it will fade away. No, the “it” doesn’t always fade away. Often it gets stronger and stronger and then it attacks.


  1. Shatterface says

    Even the Nazis had the sense to be a bit furtive about the Holocaust.

    These are people who revel in horror.

  2. sc_770d159609e0f8deaa72849e3731a29d says

    The Holocaust and ISIS’s activities serve almost opposite purposes. The purpose of the Holocaust was not merely to murder all the jews in Europe- and ultimately the world- but to destroy every sign that they had ever existed. ISIS need terror and publicity to have an effect and to gain recruits.

  3. RJW says

    Yes, how could we reason with people like ISIS, the Nazis or the Japanese militarists of WW2?

    It’s another phase of the 1400 year war, no amount of multi-culti fairy dust will make any difference.

  4. Decker says

    Two things:

    “We are Moroccans,” went out the cry over a portable loudspeaker.

    If that’s the case, then leave the Dutch alone and buy some real-estate in Fez.

    The Hague’s Mayor Jozias van Aartsen recently claimed on Dutch radio that no red lines were crossed by the protests,

    Some in Holland haven’t the brains of a ball of gouda

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