Media Watch

Netherlands Rocked by Religious Turmoil

LONDON DAILY TELEGRAPH, Nov. 10 — The shock waves generated by the murder of Theo van Gogh by an Islamic militant continued to reverberate across Holland in early November. While 1 million watched his cremation on television, five mosques, an Islamic school and a church were bombed, burned or vandalized in reprisals.

Van Gogh, director of an anti-Islam film called Submission, was murdered by an Islamic extremist Nov. 2. He was shot and stabbed repeatedly, and his throat was slit. The butcher knife was then used to pin a message to his chest.

The message, containing lengthy quotations from Islamic scriptures, threatened the life of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Muslim apostate who wrote Submission, and prophesized “disaster” for Holland.

The murder was the second of a prominent Dutch opponent of Islam in three years. In response, Jozias van Aartsen, leader of the Liberal Party, said Holland was being subjected to a jihad, and Deputy Prime Minister Gerrit Zalm said Holland had “declared war,” The Telegraph reported.

The immigration minister, Rita Verdonk, announced the deportation of 26,000 failed refugee claimants and promised legislation to allow deportation of any of Holland's 900,000 Muslims found guilty of “extremism,” even citizens.

Marines Anointed Before Battle

AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE, Nov. 6 — Days before the Fallujah battle that was certain to take some of their lives, members of the U.S. Marine Corps made peace with God: singing hymns, being anointed with holy oil and, in several cases, accepting baptism in an evangelical ser vice Nov. 5.

“Church attendance is always up before the big push,” said Sgt. Miles Thatford. “Sometimes, all you've got is God.” The three dozen participants in the ser vice sang rock-and-roll flavored hymns and read from the Scriptures from the stage of a makeshift Iraqi chapel.

Agence France Presse reported that a chaplain, identified only as Horne, told the soldiers their mission was to deliver the Iraq people from “oppression, rape, torture and murder” and asked God “to bless us in that effort.”

Population Fund Leader Sees Unborn's Humanity

UN NEWS CENTER, Nov. 4 — The head of the United Nations Population Fund has implicitly recognized the personhood of unborn children in a press release discussing the U.N. agency's campaign to reduce the incidence of fistula.

Fistula, which afflicts 2 million women globally, occurs during an obstructed labor when the mother's bladder or rectum is torn. Almost always fatal to the child, it causes severe physical and mental trauma to the mother.

“Fistula is a double sorrow because women lose their babies, and they lose their lives,” said the fund's executive director, Thoraya Ahmed Obaid. She added, “The key to ending fistula lies with prevention,” which, without explanation, she linked with “family planning” — birth control and abortion.

Pro-lifers were pleased that Obaid — whose agency works closely with International Planned Parenthood Federation, the world's largest private abortion provider — had implicitly acknowledged the full humanity of the unborn. But, they noted, if resources were diverted to obstetric care from “family planning,” fistula could be sharply reduced in the developing world.

Fistula is easily prevented and can also be treated with surgery, which is successful 90% of the time.