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Somsen, Geert

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Trouw - Netherlands | 23/02/2011

Geert Somsen on the end of the clash of cultures

While the citizens of the Arab world stage mass protests for democracy and freedom, Islam critics of the West like right-wing populist Geert Wilders remain silent. This is because their view of the world has been shattered, writes historian Geert Somsen in the daily Trouw: "Right-wing populists are really having a hard time. Since 9/11 public debate has been dominated by their assertions on the contradiction between Islam and the West. ... But recent events in the Middle East don't fit in at all with this divided view of the world. For who represents freedom and democracy there? Between 80 and 90 percent of them are Muslims, like for example the demonstrators on Tahrir Square. And who is threatening these struggles for freedom with violence and terror? Regimes backed by the West like those in Bahrain and Mubarak's Egypt before it. ... So those who support freedom and democracy can simply begin at home and call their own governments to account instead of demonising Muslim migrants. This is another lesson the current uprisings teach us. September 11 is over."

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