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Rode Hoed home to anti-Islam bloggers

3 January 2008 - Formerly progressive intelectuals fight the Islam on their weblogs. After a heated debate at the Rode Hoed last June, attended by many of these ‘angry bloggers’, Vrij Nederland’s Margalith Kleijwegt set out to explore their world.

At the Rode Hoed, a debate was held on issues such as the newly founded organisation of former Muslims. Many among the crowd expressed hostility towards Muslims. One of the people demanding to be heard was a man from Amsterdam-Oost, who contributes to the Hoeiboei weblog under the name Leo Sar.

Later, Sar emailed Kleijwegt about what motivates him: “I see what Samuel Huntington sees. The Islam can’t be integrated. South America was taken by a few hundred Spaniards with guns. Why couldn’t Europe be subjected by twenty million Muslims, a vanguard of whom are just making realistic threats with dirty bombs? For example, simultaneously in Amsterdam and Berlin? With how many were the Bolsheviks at the beginning?”

Lucida, editor of the Atlucida and Ayaan Hirsi Ali weblogs, has similar concerns: “It won’t be long before our ‘beautiful neighbourhoods’ [government lingo for disadvantaged neighbourhoods] will be sporting names like Mekka Square or Avenue de Bin Laden. Residents of the Slotervaart District are sick and tired of it. The ‘incidents’ of intimidation, vandalism, street terror, theft, destructiveness and rapacity keep on piling up. And what is our jolly Jew [referring to Mayor Job Cohen] doing? Exactly, he is having another cup of tea at the local mosque”.

Interestingly, all the bloggers used to vote for progressive parties, but now they criticise the ‘betrayal of the Left’ and the rise of ‘Sharia Socialism’. Most are ‘highly educated citizens, readers of de Volkskrant, NRC Handelsblad and Vrij Nederland’, who are uncomfortable with the populism of politicians like Geert Wilders. “For a moment I considered voting for Wilders”, one of them told Kleijwegt, “but I think he’s not sophisticated enough, he is using too many one-liners”.

As was to be expected, Kleijwegt’s article has been discussed extensively at the weblogs she describes. While some say her description is quite accurate, others say she describes the bloggers in such a way as to make them look like pathetic losers.

Article in Vrij Nederland (in Dutch; containing links to the weblogs described). Meeting at the Rode Hoed. Illustration: building blocks designed by Annechien van Litsenburg


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