Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Murder in Amsterdam by Ian Buruma (2006)

Someone outside of the Netherlands had recommended this book, and I finally got around to reading it this summer. For anyone interested in Dutch culture today, it is definitely worth reading. It summarizes well events connected to Theo van Gogh and Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Furthermore, he accurately highlights some of the underlying assumptions found in Dutch politics and society - something that both insiders and outsiders would do well to read.

A good review of the book can be found online at the Guardian - Review: Murder in Amsterdam. 

On a personal note, Buruma also helped me understand better why people have reacted how they have to Hirsi Ali (the author of Infidel). He describes her as being almost religiously devoted to the Enlightenment (and hence her quick acceptance within Dutch political circles). She also seems to expect that once a Muslim is enlightened he or, more so, she would then leave their religion. Buruma even gives an example of her dismissing women who validate their being Muslim. As much as her questions about the influence, radicalism, and intoleration of Islamism are good to think about, her enlightenment devotion and her refusal to listen to others holding different beliefs makes her a less than ideal advocate for Christians.

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