I just wanted to react to the hot topic of the day in the Netherlands. The leader of the PvV (Party for Freedom, an extreme right wing small Dutch party), Gert Wilders, has asked for a ban on the Koran in the Netherlands, comparing the Muslim holy book to Mein Kampf. As you can imagine, this has stirred quite some reactions, not only from the Muslim community, but also from the media, the government and, more interestingly, from lawyers. Two lawyers are suing Wilders on the basis that he is attacking the Dutch "samenleving" concept. This concept means that The Netherlands ability to survive as a crowded small multicultural country is based on a relative tolerance and the possibility to "live together" ("samenleven" in Dutch) peacefully.
Wilders has attacked this relentlessly indeed, even since before his election in the Tweede Kamer (the Dutch lower chamber of the Parliament). His targets are mainly the left wing SP (and anything vaguely socialist) and the Muslim community and concepts. He likes also to fire at will on the conservative government. His favorite tactics are slander, calomny, veiled threats and Parliament open questions... This is resented by many in the Netherlands, but not all, as the PvV enjoys a small but significant level of electoral support.
This last outburst though is probably one too many. The Netherlands is a very religious society (very comparable to the USA in that matter) and most its social and educational system, as well as part of its political system is confessionally based. While most political and social movement are Christian (Catholics and Protestants are roughly representing 45% of the population each), the Muslim community is strong here and sometimes quite radicalised. Muslims here have schools, mosques and social organisations. Attacking their most basic faith is a very dangerous game. Not that they might retaliate physically (it is not to be excluded, but Wilders is quite paranoid and pretty well protected), but because of the parallels that could be made.
I have read the Koran myself (though not in its original language, unfortunately) as well as the Bible and some other "holy books". To be honest, the Muslim sacred book is not worse nor better than most of the others. It is for some parts fairly violent, unfair and one sided. For other parts it is tolerant, open and poetic. The same can be said of most of these books. Attacking one on the fact that parts of it are violent is in a way attacking all the others. And that is something that most Dutch people, Christians, Jews and Muslims alike are not ready to accept...