You may be a staunch supporter of the welfare state, socialized medicine, gay marriage, preferential treatment of women and 75 percent taxation of all private income. It won’t help you if you have distanced yourself from the teachings of the prophet.
Thus, in the Netherlands, Islam’s critics are also “extreme right-wing racists” – if by “extreme”, “right-wing” and “racist’ you mean gay hedonists (Pim Fortuyn), anti-monarchist coke-snorting nihilists (Theo van Gogh) and liberal black feminists (Ayaan Hirsi Ali). Whichever of these novel permutations of “right-wing” you fall into, you wind up either on trial (Nekschot, Geert Wilders), forced into exile (Miss Ali) or pushing up tulips (Fortuyn, van Gogh). Likewise, the artists and comedians I met through Lars in Copenhagen had been variously arrested, subjected to death threats, had homes firebombed and a family restaurant shot up. And in the final indignity they’d wound up sharing a stage with a right-wing loon like me because their leftie pals weren’t there for them. All your liberal friends who went to the Amnesty International fundraisers and bored the pants off you with that bit of apocryphal Voltaire – “I disapprove of what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it” – they all stayed utterly silent. C’mon, nobody’s asking you to defend anyone to the death. A mildly principled Tweet would do. A tepidly supportive fax.