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Is Jihad Winning in Holland and America? An Interview with Abigail R. Esman

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Posted on October 12 2010 2:00 pm
Phyllis Chesler is an Emerita Professor of Psychology and Women's Studies at City University of New York. For extended biography visit The Phyllis Chesler Organization.

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Holland is on my mind right now, partly because Geert Wilders is, unbelievably, still on trial for the “thought crime” of telling the truth about Islamic jihad but partly because a new study has just been released which shows that half the victims of honor-related violence in Holland (this means Muslim girls and women) who sought shelter through the social service network, Fier Fryslan, were also sexually abused by their own family members.

Of the sexually abused girls, 52% were abused by a cousin, 22% by a brother and 20% by an uncle. 8% were abused by their father, 2% by a stepfather, and 2% by an acquaintance.

But, I am mainly thinking a lot about Holland because I recently met with and interviewed the most amazing woman, the author, Abigail R. Esman, who has just published a very important book, Radical State: How Jihad Is Winning Over Democracy in the West.

Esman is American-born, but she has lived in Holland for the last 20 years. She is reluctant to leave—but leave she must, given that Holland has so totally failed to integrate an alarmingly separatist, radicalized, and hostile Muslim population—and given the amount of anti-Semitism that also exists there.

Esman’s book deserves a full court review and I will do so at a later time. It is far more personable and reader-friendly than Christopher Caldwell’s Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam, and the West. Both books address the same subject, but Esman’s is beautifully, personally written; one feels as if they now almost “know” Esman’s Holland just as she herself does. She describes the country’s enormous charm and customs, its art, ideas, history, landscapes. She is also intimately involved with its politics.

Esman interviewed the late Theo van Gogh, befriended and worked closely with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and she knows the leading Muslim and ex-Muslim dissidents in Holland such as Afshin Ellian. Here is part of an interview that I did with her over a brief period of time when she was in New York City:

Q: Clearly, you love Holland and feel at home there. If Holland does not solve its Muslim immigrant problem, will you leave?

A: I do not love Holland anymore, and I no longer feel at home there, and I fully intend to leave. And the Muslim immigrant problem — or rather, both the far right and the far left responses to it — is the reason. Jews are not welcome in Holland. Foreigners of all kinds are not welcome in Holland.  The resentment and anger between the two groups have made the country entirely unmanageable; the general incompetence and laziness, which have little to do with this issue, make it, for me, unlivable.

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