Assassination Silences a Powerful Voice

Restrictionist politician Pim Fortuyn
murdered on eve of reaching power


pim fortuyn with cigar Telling the truth about excessive immigration — that it causes rapid overpopulation and social fracturing — has not been a path to popularity in these politically correct times. The mildest suggestion that a policy that may have been beneficial in the 19th century has overgrown its usefulness immediately brings accusations of racism and xenophobia. Of course, even immigration lawyers know better than to advocate overpopulation, so hurling hateful epithets remains a basic strategy.

However, words have power and if someone is called a racist often enough, an impressionable mind may decide that saving the world from the latest Hitler will require that person's murder.

Some version of that scenario appears to have taken place in the Netherlands on May 6, 2002, with the political assassination of Pim Fortuyn, a rising star in Dutch politics who could possibly have become the next Prime Minister. A man identified only as an "animal rights activist" shot him down in the street near a radio station.

Certainly Professor Fortuyn's notoriety played a part in his being targeted. Both the media and Dutch politicians in the ruling party attacked him mercilessly in the most disparaging language. Prime Minister Wim Kok called him a fascist, as did the European press. Anyone who objects to massive Muslim immigration is branded automatically as a racist, xenophobe and fascist. Mr. Fortuyn was regularly compared with real right-winger Jean Le Pen, although aside from the immigration issue, the men had nothing in common.

Fortuyn Broke the Stereotype
Pim Fortuyn was a flamboyant gay man — hardly a jack-booted fascist as the media sought to portray him. He condemned Muslim immigration because those newcomers to Holland refused to assimilate to the socially liberal Netherlands society, in which gay sexuality is as acceptable as straight. Problems have been stressful in highly impacted Rotterdam, Fortuyn's home city, where the Muslim population is estimated to be as high as 45 percent. Fortuyn stated, "I have gay friends who have been beaten up by young Moroccans in Rotterdam." His immigration philosophy derived precisely because of the socially tolerant nature of the Netherlands, a quality he treasured and wanted to preserve.

Like many in Holland, Fortuyn did not want to live in a northern extension of Morocco. A recent poll found that 50 percent of young Dutch people want no more Muslim immigration. As Fortuyn remarked, "in Rotterdam we have third-generation Moroccans who still don't speak Dutch, oppress women and won't live by our values." While campaigning on the idea of ending Islamic immigration entirely, he believed that the government should do more to aid assimilation to Dutch society of Muslims who were already there. Interestingly, the second-in-command person in the political party Pim Fortuyn's List was a black Caribbean immigrant, Joao Varela. Differences were understood to be about culture, not race.

An outspoken gay man professing concern over the loss of Western values apparently gave headaches to many in the press, who like their stereotypes as simple as possible. Some chose to ignore Fortuyn's clear message about the threat to socially liberal Holland from authoritarian Islam and continued name-calling even after his assassination. The most stubbornly politically correct insisted on describing him as "extreme right wing" and "fascist" for his restrictionist views about immigration. Newspaper columnist Prof. dr B. Smalhout reflected on the media's role in demonizing the man before his murder: "Pim Fortuyn was made an outcast by politically correct Netherlands He was depicted as a fake professor, a second Hitler… a neo-Nazi, a narcissistic homosexual and a political outcast. Practically all the media took part, it was the fashionable thing to do, to have a go at Professor Pim."

Pim Fortuyn's Message
It is dangerous business to gaze into a crystal ball about what might have been. But a gay prime minister of a European nation who came to power on a platform of limiting immigration would have gotten major media attention in America, no doubt about it. And Professor Fortuyn was expert at presenting his views when given a chance. He was enormously popular among the Dutch, particularly the young. Numerous Dutch remarked that Fortuyn voiced sentiments that everyone had. Huge crowds appeared on the streets of Rotterdam after the assassination protesting the media and government's part in the death. (Despite many death threats, candidate Fortuyn was given no police protection.)

Against the Islamicization of Our Culture A prolific author and former sociology professor, one of his most popular books was the recent "Against the Islamicization of Our Culture." He called himself the Dutch Samuel Huntington, drawing attention to the similarity of views with those of the author of "The Clash of Civilizations," a book newly popular after the terrorist attacks, based on a 1993 Foreign Affairs article. Fortuyn remarked, "What we are witnessing now is a clash of civilizations, not just between states but within them."

The active presence of an elected Pim Fortuyn would have been enormously useful to refute the media stereotypes about the sort of person who supports immigration reduction. Fortuyn was certainly a social liberal in all categories other than immigration, favoring Dutch legality of soft drugs and euthanasia. Ever the independent thinker, he appreciated the economic policies of Margaret Thatcher.

Perhaps most importantly, Pim Fortuyn asked whether a society should welcome immigrants who disdain the culture of that nation and refuse to assimilate. Should women and gays, who have only recently received civil rights historically speaking, embrace millions who despise their freedom, even their existence? Why should citizens welcome a cultural group that threatens their rights and safety? As Professor Fortuyn observed, "I say multicultural society doesn't work. We're not living closer, we're living apart."

What a terrible pity that he is no longer here to voice such rare common sense.

— by Brenda Walker


Rightist in Netherlands Is Slain, and the Nation Is Stunned
Marlise Simons wrote this moderately balanced piece for the New York Times, and even notes some of the criticism of demonstrators in Rotterdam streets against the press, such as the banner reading "Killed by the goading of politicians and the hounding of the press." It also quotes Fortuyn's amusing handbag line: "When I become prime minister, I'm going to buy one of those Margaret Thatcher handbags, and I'll bang it on the table and demand my money back from the government for past bad services."

Tiptoe through the Tulips: Why Holland Is Nervous
Written a couple months after the Fortuyn assassination, this article considers some recent Dutch cultural history to understand how the nation got itself into such a condition and why Pim was a revolutionary figure of sorts.

Pim Fortuyn in Dutch
For non-Dutch speakers, there are photos and multimedia including animated clips and RealVideo files of talking head shows.

Pim Fortuyn pages
A perusal of websites about Pim makes it very obvious that the man was enormously popular among his fellow Dutch.

List Pim Fortyun Manifesto
Read the political positions of "Pim Fortuyn's List," the party formed around the ideas of Professor Fortuyn. There is a section on immigration, as well as statements about healthcare, education, crime and other issues.

Dutch coalition unveils reforms
As of mid-July 2002, Pim Fortuyn's party was making headway in tightening up the Netherland's immigration and asylum strictures. For example, one imporant plank requires asylum seekers to pay a nearly 7,000 euro deposit (around $1500) for compulsory Dutch language and citizenship lessons. This sort of government message informs newcomers that they must obey the law and assimilate to national customs. Incidentally, the saying "When in Rome, do as the Romans do" dates back more than 1600 years to the time of St. Augustine.

Wrong About the Right Stuff
What does the term "right wing" mean any more when a libertarian gay politician is described as such? Slate's Anne Applebaum decides to quit using the words "extremist" and "far right" because they are no longer appropriate in today's more complicated social realities.

Time Magazine photoessay on the reaction to the murder of Pim Fortuyn
These are mostly funeral pictures.

Battered Westerner Syndrome inflicted by myopic Muslim defenders
Columnist Mark Steyn analyzes the horrific gang rapes in Australia by Lebanese immigrants against young Australian girls. Toward the end he notes that "Islam For All reported the other day that, at present demographic rates, in 20 years' time the majority of Holland's children (the population under 18) will be Muslim."

The Paradox of Pim Fortuyn
A BBC journalist prowls around through the crowds of mourners after the assassination and tries to make sense of the man, the deed and the reaction.

Interview with political analyst Syp Wynia, political editor of Elsevier
The BBC interviewer tries entrap Wynia with allegations that Pim Fortuyn was xenophobic, but Wynia clearly and calmly explains the late politician's positions. Elsevier is a Dutch magazine that carried Fortuyn's columns. (You can watch this interview with Realplayer.)

Murder suspect confesses - November 2002
After keeping silent many months after the shooting, alleged killer Volkert Van de Graaf confessed to the murder, saying the Fortuyn presented a danger to "vulnerable sections of society," presumably referring to Muslim immigrants.

Pim Voted Politician of the Year
For the "gone but not forgotten file," in December 2002 the readers of the European Voice magazine chose Fortuyn for the posthumous honor to recognize his reinvigoration of Dutch politics and debate.

The Canary Is Choking
This article by the LTG publisher considers growing unrest in Europe against the loss of western culture to the Muslim influx of millions. One example is the alarm shown in Daniel Pipes' important piece, Something Rotten in Denmark? by Danes who no longer like the idea of multiculturalism because of problems with crime, violence against women and the unwillingness of Muslims to assimilate to Danish culture.

"Tolerant" Netherlands reels at Imam anti-gay talk
From 2001, this article notes the alarm of gay Dutch about the televised comments of imam Khalil el-Moumni who stated that homosexuality was a communicable disease, a sickness that could destroy society. Many gays came forward with reports about threatened or actual violence against them by Muslims.

Islam seen as central in Dutch immigration debate
In January 2003, some months after Pim's assassination and the rise and fall of the Fortuyn party in government, the issue of Muslim immigration has become mainstream. No longer hushed up, cultural difficulties are being discussed by all parties.

Fortuyn killer 'acted for Muslims'
At the beginning of his trial, accused murderer Volkert Van der Graaf admitted that he shot Pim Fortuyn and also revealed his motive — that he wanted to "protect Muslims." The media has been avoiding the obvious motive for nearly a year, that the shooter is a multicultural extremist and couldn't stand his ideology being upset by the moral coherance of Pim's arguments. Another article about the assassin's motive.

Dutch immigration policy a failure
An official parliamentary report concluded (Jan. 2004) that the country has failed to integrate Muslim immigrants into Dutch society with its liberal values. Between 70 and 80 per cent of Dutch-born immigrants import their spouses from their "home" country, thereby perpetuating a growing separatist Muslim subculture in large cities. The government's 2500-page report was in part an answer to the criticism of Pim Fortuyn, and noted that Holland's "worst mistake" was to encourage children to speak their ethnic languages rather than learn Dutch. Here is BBC coverage of the same subject.

Liberal Netherlands grows less so on immigration
The largest mosque in Europe is being built in Rotterdam, Pim's home. When finished, the minarets will tower 164 feet if current plans prevail. But the Dutch are tiring of the expensive social welfare costs, not to mention coming to terms with multiculturalism as a failed ideology. Already the city is nearly half foreign born with no end in sight, since the average birth rate for Moroccan women is nearly four times that of the Dutch rate of just over one child.

Living the legacy of Pim Fortuyn
It has been a contentious issue, but the Dutch government is set to forcibly remove tens of thousands of asylum seekers (Feb 2004). While some Dutch citizens feel the law is too onerous, the majority believe something must be done to reinstate the nation's "norms and values" after years of experimenting with multiculturalism. In fact, around 26,000 unaccepted asylum seekers will be repatriated over the next three years.

Along came Sharia
Is is possible that the European Left has finally recognized that Muslim culture is antithetical to western values? Yes, according to this article. A Belgian Socialist remarked to the Guardian that, "It's not normal that in certain parts of Brussels there are more women in veils than in the streets of Algiers," with no PC opprobrium coming down on her. In another sign of progress, a Muslim imam who encouraged violence against women was sentenced to 15 months in prison.

Pim Fortuyn photos, including crime pictures
No one mentions that the defender of Muslims, assassin Volkert Van der Graaf, shot Pim in the back, but the photos indicate exactly that.

Two years on, LPF honours memory of murdered Fortuyn
LPF is the populist Lijst Pim Fortuyn political party which carries on the idea of immigration sanity in the Netherlands. Certainly Pim's message remains strong that Islamic fundamentalism deeply threatens Dutch values of tolerance and individual values.

Gays attacked at Palestinian protest
In case there was any doubt sbout the violent homophobia among Islamics, consider the British gays marching in support of the Palestinian cause who were attacked for their trouble.

Pim Fortuyn message board in English
Postings are infrequent, but there is information to be found here.

Populist Dutch MP demands new immigration curbs
Geert Wilders has demanded that all non-western immigration be halted. "That should have an effect for Turks and Moroccans above all," Wilders said. He has split from the WD party over the admittance of Turkey to the EU, which Wilders rejects. It was reported (9/04) the number of Muslims in the Netherlands had doubled since 1990 to 945,000 or almost 6 percent of the population and is on track to hit one million in 2006.


© 2004 Brenda Walker All rights reserved.