Hey dude…your comments thingy wasn’t working, so I decided to post my comment here…
You made some good points and I understand why you see it that way, but the way I see it is this:
Firstly, just because a person identifies themselves with a group, doesn’t make them a part of it. Mohammed Bouyeri belongs ~not necessarily~ with the jihad muslims in Iraq…he belongs more likely to the group called ‘murderers’. Yes, he “slit his throat so deeply that his head was almost severed.” but the only reason he’s identified with jihad is because there is currently a war situation in which muslim groups are fighting and he identified himself as committing this act ~for~ Islam…it doesn’t mean that he was sent or even affiliated with any particular ‘army’ or group of fighters.
Mark David Chapman and John Hinckley Jr. cited Catcher In The Rye and Jodie Foster (respectively) as reasons for their (one successful, one attempted) assassinations. No one believes they were actually affiliated with either…they just think they’re crazy. Slightly different situations, I know, but what I’m trying to say is that it’s likey it’s the same ~sort~ of idea with Mohammed Bouyeri.
Secondly…yes, Holland is a very tolerant country…very. Amsterdam is a uniquely interesting place to walk around, but aside from petty crimes, fairly safe. Muggings abound, but the women I’ve spoken to there tell me they feel free to walk home at 4 am should they wish. People are usually pretty friendly and very helpful (some I met can be kinda creepy, but harmless…remind me to tell you a story). One of the reasons this was so shocking.
I know the idea of a society tolerant to drug usage, sex trade workers, etc would seem like the place where, as Andrew Anthony puts it “…it does not take a social scientist to see that a veiled woman might have problems living next to a live sex show.” But that’s not how it is…or at least from what I’ve seen. Once out of the red light district, you really see no evidence of it in the rest of the city, and I would probably venture to say the rest of the country. The ‘veiled woman’ has an abundance of choice when it comes to living locations and, frankly, I think very few people live next to the live sex show theatres. You can choose to ~stay~ there, but the city is big and the red light district is only a few blocks around. The reason that the murder of Theo Van Gogh was such big news is because this behaviour isn’t common in Holland…so I see no reason for it to be a sign of a declining nation and/or way of life.
Thirdly…the beheadings. Awful, yes. They are absolutely terrible. They are also an act of a desparate people fighting a war against a force that is by FAR better armed and trained than they are. It’s war and people are dying…Iraqis, Americans, Brits, Koreans, all sorts. However, the coalition forces have the technology and manpower to drop bombs or spray bullets. You can’t expect the lesser equiped ones to fight fair…they know they’d be creamed. These muslim groups have come up with a way to make each death they cause ~mean~ something…in contrast to their thousands of anonymous ones. I don’t think it’s good…I don’t think ~either~ are good, but that’s what war is. People killing people.
Most people aren’t evil…but desparate people are capable of doing very evil things..and that’s what they are, desparate.
I’ll read the Andrew Anthony article, though…and post that later.