Not the last
On Theo 'an Gogh's assassination
November 17, 2004
Transcript of an interview with
Azar Majedi which was broadcast on International
TV on November 7, 2004. Majedi
is the head of the Organisation
for Women's Liberation.
Maryam Namazie: Theo van Gogh, a film director
and journalist, was assassinated in broad daylight in Amsterdam
November 2. He was repeatedly stabbed and his throat slit. They
say his assassin has "radical Islamic fundamentalist convictions".
There is a debate on whether this is the act of an individual or
the political Islamic movement. Why have you said it is political
Azar Majedi: This is not the first time we've seen that someone
who has criticised Islam has been murdered. Political Islam has been massacring,
and beheading people for the exact same thing in the Middle East, in Iran under
the Islamic Republic of Iran, Afghanistan, the Sudan, and so on. Even when they
are not in power but they have political voice in the opposition - they do the
same with their opponents e.g. Algeria is a good example.
And we've seen what
has happened in the west lately, e.g. 9/11. This is the method of political
Islam - terrorising people. Terror and intimidation are the only
methods they have
for gaining power. Here we have a typical classic case of someone criticising
Islam, exposing its misogyny, and being threatened a number of times and then
killed. And 'coincidentally' the person who killed him is said to
have 'has fundamentalist convictions' - the code word for someone who adheres
to political Islam. That is why I have said this is another murder by political
Islam, which has to be condemned.
You've said this has happened before. You
yourself know many friends and comrades who have been killed and
assassinated by the political
Islamic movement. As you said, it is nothing new, is it?
No it's not. Actually just a week ago, I had a programme in commemoration
of Gholam Keshavarz, a good comrade and friend of mine who was assassinated
by the Islamic regime of Iran in Cyprus 13 years ago for opposing political
being a communist, a socialist, and atheist. The regime sent agents outside
of Iran with an elaborate and detailed plan to assassinate him. This is only
example of what political Islam has done to people in Iran, in the Middle East,
North Africa and now to people in the west. What they are trying to do in the
west - both in Islamic communities and in the society at large - is increasing
more and more every year.
You have said in a previous statement: 'He
was murdered because he cared and dared to expose the inherent
misogyny in and the brutal
nature of Islam. An act, which sadly, nowadays calls for great courage, due
to advancements of political Islam and the rise in religion's influence in
We are getting reports that he was a racist and that he didn't separate people
from the ideology or religion.
For example, in an interview, with the Cultuur
magazine he said: "I like to insult people with a purpose. I want to warn
against the fifth column here in the Netherlands that tries to corrode our
way of life." According to the Guardian newspaper (04/11/04) Theo van
Gogh previously described Muslims in a derogatory manner. Do you think he
really cared and dared
and was courageous? I would say you are courageous.
I must admit when I heard the news I did not know Theo van Gogh
and had not read anything by him. I read and found out that he had criticised
Islam and made a film, which exposed Islam's misogyny. This, the news of
the death threats he had received, the method of murder, and the letter found
his body all made it clear to me that he was murdered by political Islam.
I became furious and saw it as my duty to categorically condemn this crime
all free thinkers and freedom loving people to do the same.
If we do not
raise our voice against this reactionary movement, if we do not stand
Islam will continue to terrorize the society and make even more advances.
Therefore, I described him as courageous. I must say that unfortunately,
or perhaps fortunately,
his writings are not translated into English. Later I found out that
he had made many racist and derogatory comments about Jews, Moslems,
and so on.
Having said that, this murder must nonetheless be categorically condemned
for many reasons. First of all, this is a murder. And any decent human
against the murder and killing of human beings. Second, if it is not
condemned, we are
giving Islamists a green light to go ahead with their terror and intimidation.
Thirdly, if this murder is not dealt with in a right and progressive
manner, it will add fuel to the racism that already exists in the society.
are going to use this as an excuse to terrorize immigrants and incite
- something we are witnessing in the Netherlands.
I would like to make one point clear. Criticising Islam, ridiculing it,
no matter how harshly, falls within the concept of freedom of expression
criticism, and is not racist. However, insulting people by reference
to their religion
race is racist. We need to make this distinction very clearly because
we find tendencies among the left who consider criticism of Islam as
is an invented concept by Islamists and their apologists, a concept
that condemns any criticism of Islam as a racist act. I believe
is as hypocritical
as it is reactionary. We should raise the banner of unconditional freedom
of expression and criticism.
Maryam Namazie is the host of T'
International English, is a Central Council Member of the
Organisation of Women's Liberation and Director of the International
Relations Committee of the Worker-communist Party of Iran.