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Murder in Amsterdam: Liberal Europe, Islam, and the Limits of Tolerence

  • ISBN13: 9780143112365
  • Condition: NEW
  • Notes: Brand New from Publisher. No Remainder Mark.

Product Description
A revelatory look at what happens when political Islam collides with the secular West

Ian Buruma ‘s Murder in Amsterdam is a masterpiece of investigative journalism, a book with the intimacy and narrative control of a crime novel and the analytical brilliance for which Buruma is renowned. On a cold November day in Amsterdam in 2004, the celebrated and controversial Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh was shot and killed by an Islamic extremist for making a movie that “insulted the prophet Mohammed.” The murder sent shock waves across Europe and around the world. Shortly thereafter, Ian Buruma returned to his native land to investigate the event and its larger meaning as part of the great dilemma of our time.

Murder in Amsterdam: Liberal Europe, Islam, and the Limits of Tolerence


  1. This book depicts the social landcape of Holland thru the portraits drawn of several infamous celebrities who are representative of modern society: Theo Van Gogh (murdered), Pim Fortuyn (idem), or Ayaan Hirsi (wanted dead by many).

    Very well written, it is hard to put this book down. Looks like a painting of El Bosco. The author has a knack for revealing the personalities of his characters thru brief details of their lives and intelligent interviews. And he never seems to impose whatever position he may stand for; he’s very objective, or that’s the impression.

    Curiously enough both Theo and Fortuyn, who are not to win my simpathies at all, were murdered by an Islamist gone nuts, and a zoophile, personages quite apart, but it’s a very telling illustration of the human landscape we have here. Because the 2 victims aren’t simple Joes either. Theo was a spoiled brat, a punk; Fortyun a narcissistic sodomite turned politician (it reminds me of when the infamous Cicciolina, the italian meretrix, went into Parliament). Well, these people seem to be some kind of heroes/devils in Holland, and they are the talk of the town. Theo seemed to have been quite obnoxious and despicable as a youngster, fond of insulting anybody religious just to get a kick out of it. He got away with Christians, not with Muslims though. he seemed only to be able to love himself, as good narcissists do.

    These book was quite informative to me, as I didn’t have this side of the picture I surely was given a partial impression by the media when the facts happened.

    The issues dealt with here are foreign to us Christians, because we are called to live in this world but not like the world, sinful. Both sides of the conflict, immigrants and their hosts, Islam and liberal Europe are spiteful, at least negligent and deaf to Christ and his gospel. We must have nothing to do with them.

    But it is easy to take sides while reading this good analysis. It seems like we ought to pick the better things of each side; that seems to be the solution at the end for a life together and a stop to the intolereance and hatred. Wrong choice. We would only get ourselves in the dirt too. Remember:

    “And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled, for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.” (Matthew 24:6)

    We have in these pages interesting points of view of people who are lost. See page 57; Fortuyn puts on the same level Christianism and Islam. The reason? “Their moral principles are so high, it’s not possible to live up to them.” That is his excuse for being a sex maniac and a sodomite. Sin is sin. Each one chooses whom to serve, the Devil or the Lord.

    Modern, decrepit society only wants an alibi for keep living in sin. Modern society is so hooked up there’s not enough will power to turn back. It’s high time for a crisis. Islam bothers this comfortable generation only as long as it reminds them of certain moral standards that they would rather ignore (and can’t). It doesn’t bother them as much for its theology, or even violence against women, but for its Calvinistic puritanism. Isn’t this quite revealing?

    This is a deep book; it recquires that you know yourself first, or else it will tell YOU who you should be. See the pillar in your eye, friend, before you point to someone else’s moth.

    Thank you Jesus that we don’t belong here. We are just passing by.

    Rating: 5 / 5

  2. One of the best books you will read this year. And yes the author being of Dutch birth caught my eye, since my husbands family (DeRoos) are also of Dutch background. And the author having lived here in the states since the mid 1970’s is able to give the reader a view of both sides of the issue or cultural differances.

    What makes it so provocative is that the author doesn’t take sides per se, but looks at Dutch society and the evolution it has undergone since world war 2 that helped mold what can be seen as a dysfunctional society veiled in tolerance to the extreme. How over half of the population of the Netherlands is made up of foreigners and of those the majority are of Moslem background, usually having been born to parents who came from and are themselves of Moslem countries.

    Then there is Theo van Gogh the grand nephew of the famous artist who seems himself as a pusher of tolerance by way of in your face words and actions no matter how offensive or alas uncivil. Unlike the author I see the ‘victim’ as akin to someone who stands outside your home and yells racial slurs, or even burns a KKK cross on the lawn. And not just once, but over and over on various lawns in your community. So I don’t see Theo van Gogh as anything more than an uncivilized thug. And as the author notes vam Gogh was much more ‘anti semetic’ than anything. Something those like Mohammed Bouyeri seemed to not know or didn’t choose to take note of.

    Yet at the same time I think as the author notes in decribing a society that has such liberal social programs that perpetuate a state of need in those like Mohammed Bouyeri, who was dependent on government handouts, and had never been required to adapt to Dutch culture. Which even those of us here in the states may find hard to do when one considers how in your face, sex, drugs and other things are in the Netherlands.

    And the author deals with how the Dutch having allowed so many of its citizens like Anne Frank, to be taken away by the Nazi’s, over reacted after WW2 and went the other way and basically have become afraid to say there are black and white issues and actions and that some things will not be tolerated.

    Then there is the whole issue of why of all the religions Islam seems to have members who see nothing wrong with killing or hurting those who disagree with their religion. Why they cannot simply do as others in other religions do when Jesus, Buddha, Moses etc are used in humor or critical thinking books, movies etc.

    Thus I came away much more appreciative of the religious freedom we have here in the states and that we can joke and ridicule those we disagree with, and not fear someone will burn down our house of worship, university, or worse yet kill the speaker/writer.
    Rating: 5 / 5

  3. The ever changing landscape due to immigration is well defined and understanble to an ex=patriot who has been wondering about trying to find solutions to ethical issues about cultures clashing.

    This book connects and reveals the past to the present.
    Rating: 4 / 5

  4. Like many Dutch, Ian Buruma probably found himself at a loss to describe the roots that led to the death of provocateur filmmaker Theo van Gogh. He returned home for a time and reimmersed himself in modern Holland. `Murder In Amsterdam,` the result, is an easy-to-read introduction to the rifts within modern Islam, the plight of immigrant states in Europe, and the cultural skirmishes and uneasy peace that defines the relationship between the two.

    The author sets the stage with a bit of Dutch postwar history and a series of relevant interviews, and Buruma makes it clear that he is out to sanctify no-one. Van Gogh uses colorful unprintables to describe Christians, Jews, and Muslims. His murderer, Mohammed Bouyeri, sees Holland as the cradle of a new Islamic Revolution (because of its civil liberties, which he despises). The Dutch establishment is overwhelmed and directionless, as well as racist; the Moroccans and Turks who comprise nearly 40% of the population of the Netherlands are almost too free: cut loose from their traditional culture, they drift in a world full of overwhelming choice and no direction. Some Muslims are for assimilation; others are see the former as apostates. Yet they all are still mostly rejected from society at large by those invisible chains of education, class, and race. Over 250 pages, the only answer Buruma gives is that there is no easy answer.

    Buruma attempts to balance himself on the knife-edge that is the middle ground, and mostly succeeds. Yet despite his best attempts at a reporter`s objectivity, between the lines one can still see the author`s muted sorrow at the plight of men like Ahmed Aboutaleb, the city councillor who works hard to be a bridge in a society separated by an ever-widening gulf.

    For an overarching look at the issues of assimilation and cultural respect facing many countries in Europe today, Ian Buruma is a good place to start.
    Rating: 4 / 5

  5. Baruma does a fine job of illustrating the culture clash taking place when Muslims migrate into European areas of secularism and enlightenment. Baruma details multiple aspects of culture tolerance, which is being tested and tried every day around the world. The book is very thought provoking if you’re interested in cultural issues of the present world.
    Rating: 5 / 5


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