On a cold November day in Amsterdam, an angry young Muslim man, the son of Moroccan immigrants, killed celebrated and controversial Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh, great-grandnephew of Vincent and iconic European provocateur, for making a movie that "blasphemed" Islam. The murder horrified quiet, complacent, prosperous Holland, a country that prides itself on being a bastion of tolerance, and sent shock waves across Europe and around the world. Ian Buruma returned to his native Netherlands to try to make sense of it all and to see what larger meaning should and shouldn't be drawn from this story. The result is a true-crime page-turner with the intellectual resonance we've come to expect from this well-regarded journalist and thinker: the exemplary tale of our age, the story of what happens when political Islam collides with the secular West and tolerance finds its limits.--From publisher description.
-- I don't think that religion *can* be abolished;
-- I don't think anyone who has proposed it has given any sensible account of what it would be replaced with, other than to say something silly like "People should think for themselves." (Since when have the majority of people ever demonstrated an ability to think critically?);
-- I do think that culture rather than religion accounts for a whole host of the problems commonly attributed to religion; and
-- I do think that the majority of people belonging to religions garner positive messages from them and use the rules provided by religions to frame an ethical life.
So all that said, Murder in Amsterdam looks at the problems posed by multiculturalism in Holland, which has shown itself in recent years to be a peculiar petri dish of many of the issues.
Strongly, strongly recommended.
Don't read ahead, but the last page is perfect. But only perfect if you've read the whole book first.
It is also terrifying, notably for those of us who fear that Ayaan Hirsi Ali may be more right than right-wing.