Holland’s offensive attempts at blasphemy and our responsibilities

By Ali Hassnain

Why is Holland issue more offensive then the past blasphemous attempts? What to do as individuals and as a nation?

Note: This article was written before Holland was forced to cancel the blasphemous cartoon contest. Alhamdulillah Allah gave honour to Pakistan under the leadership of Imran Khan and General Bajwa Pakistan led the charge in Muslim World and Holland succumbed to pressure.

Allah gave role of leadership to Pakistan in the Muslim world, Alhamdulillah. As Allama Iqbal had said:

دلیل ِ صبح ِ روشن ہے ستاروں کی تنک تابی

اُفق سے آفتاب اُبھر ا، گیا دورِ گراں خوابی

The dimness of the stars is evidence of the bright morning.
The sun has risen over the horizon; the time of deep slumber has passed.

Before I begin I must write, damage to public or private property, even that of companies based in Holland, is criminal. There is no point creating unrest in your own country or elsewhere, there are peaceful means available to settle this issue, violence is what the enemies of Pakistan want. Do Protest but according to law, peacefully and with wisdom. However Holland must face non-violent punitive action. It is not a joke that any country instigates Muslims; make fun of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and gets away with it. Let us boycott Dutch products and buy local.

There are peaceful ways to force Holland to shun Xenophobia and move towards the right course. Allah almighty tells us in Quran and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) through Sunnah and Hadith to exercise hikma (wisdom). Long term policies have to be drawn. All religions should be respected including Islam. OIC is a great forum to either put sanctions on such disrespect and has authority to implement it. UN charter should include protection for all religions with Security Council having power to implement it with conviction and force if necessary.

Attempts have been made in the past to attack the personality of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). It is the first attempt at state level. This attempt is thinly veiled, if at all. It is practically backed by the state. Here is the tweet of the far right MP which is pretty self-explanatory.

This is due to our own weakness and I will tell you why.

But first, what makes this attempt different from others? Here is the tweet of the Dutch MP:

So the Dutch intelligence gave him clearance and the Dutch government allowed him to have the blasphemous contest in the parliament. This is state sponsored; there is no doubt about it. In the name of Freedom of Speech, the same government which is allowing it recently banned veil in public. Such bans never apply to nuns or to people wearing masks (Halloween or protests) or to hoods (hijab ban).

So I think it is established there are not non-state actors this time.

It must be mentioned in law that when your freedom becomes nuisance, private or public it is then not freedom of speech but an offence in Tort. Tort is a type of civil wrong when two parties are not in contractual relationship. For example you cannot play loud music at 3 am to annoy your neighbour. It is considered trespass to person. In my humble opinion it can be raised at ICJ as it concerns international peace. It should be raised in Security Council or UN. It is generally believed that a decision by Security Council is final and a Veto by a permanent member of Security council is final. However the UN General assembly can overrule a UN Security Council Veto. It has been done once. It must be done when according to resolution UNSC had failed its duties. All forums must be used; OIC should lead the defence of our values, way of life and religion in UN and elsewhere. It must be done when according to resolution UNSC had failed its duties. All forums must be used; OIC should lead the defence of our values, way of life and religion in UN and elsewhere.

It is interesting to note that usually the far right in Europe equally hates Jews and Muslims (ironically) but it is to be seen who is backing this MP. Why is Holland government intent on a path of self-destruction? Their logic that in the 60s they annoyed Catholics with homosexuality to desensitise them to the issue is non-sense. If they actually think so, they grossly underestimate our love for Prophet  Muhammad (PBUH). What is even the point of agitating Muslims, unless that was the plan all along? It can be a test dose; they may want to see our reaction. It is interesting to note the self-righteous far right of Europe would never even discuss holocaust due to its sensitivity while they agitate Muslims. This is a much more sensitive topic for us then holocaust is for Jews. There is no comparison whatsoever, not by a long shot.

So how is this our fault? Because it is. Let me tell you how. The Royal Dutch contributed 84% to Dutch economy in 2013. It has assets in excess of 400 Billion$ (minus goodwill). It is known as Royal Dutch Shell. It has subsidiaries but it is headquarters in Holland. It owns gas stations, was responsible for a fuel crisis in Pakistan it is said (due to hoarding) and is involved in drilling and oil and gas exploration. Following is a list of shell sub subsidiaries.

  • Shell Australia
  • Shell South Africa
  • Shell Canada
  • Shell Chemicals
  • Shell Gas & Power
  • Shell Hong Kong
  • Shell Nigeria
  • Shell Oil Company
  • Shell India Markets
  • Shell Pakistan
  • Shell Egypt

Shell is actively working with Saudi State owned Aramco, Iran (despite sanctions) and is also operating in Nigeria and other Muslim countries including Pakistan. It is widely involved in oil and gas exploration and extraction.

It is operating in Malaysia for 125 years, it has some 6000 employees in Malaysia.

They built first refinery and undersea pipeline (of course for a cost).

As per their website (Shell Malaysia), their main activity is in the manufacturing, marketing and distribution of oil products namely various grade of fuels, lubricants and bitumen. Details (alarming market penetration) can be found on their official website.

And then of course there are our Chinese allies. Being the first onshore upstream cooperative development Shell has had in China, Changbei project started commercial production ahead of schedule in March 2007, in time to contribute to a green 2008 Beijing Olympics, and produces approximately 3.5 billion cubic meters (bcm) per year, which accounts for around 20% of Beijing’s annual gas consumption in 2016.

In July 2012, PetroChina and Shell signed a PSC amendment representing a new phase for the development of the existing Changbei block, adding scope to develop additional tight gas sands and further develop the already producing main reservoir.

Shell if the largest supplier of LNG in China and the list of projects is too long.

Shell has been active in Hong Kong for a century, since the days of British lease, providing Retail, LPG, Commercial Fuel, Lubricants, Bitumen, Aviation, Marine and Chemicals services and products.

And in Pakistan, Shell provides 30% of the jet fuel.

Shell has 20% of the lubricant market.

Shell has some 800 retail outlets in Pakistan (usually along with a mini mart).

Shell has 26% share in Pakistan Refinery Limited (Karachi)

In 2001 Pak Arab Pipeline was formed to supply oil to north of country. Shell has 26% of equity entered in PAPCO.

Environmental record of Shell is very poor, it has badly affected Niger delta because of old technology and corrosion. Amnesty International and Friends of Earth have protested it fiercely in Holland. In 1999 their oil tanker collided with a German freighter in Argentina in a river, emptied itself in a lake, it was the biggest oil spill in fresh water. After a referendum the town accepted 9.5Billion$ settlement from shell but a court in Argentina held Shell responsible in 2002.

Shell joined the Global climate commission of businesses opposed to greenhouse gas emission regulation. In 2013, Royal Dutch Shell PLC reported CO2 emissions of 81 million metric tonnes

Holland would be on its knees in hours if OIC mobilises effectively. They are exploiting us commercially and prospering as a result, and their arrogance is such that they dare to attack our beliefs and test our love for Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

Then there is Unilever.

Sheer exploitation, overpricing through advertising and monopoly.

Unilever was founded in 1930 by the merger of the Dutch margarine producer Margarine Uni and the British soap maker Lever Brothers. Since the days of British Raj they have captured our market to the extent of a monopoly. Assets of Unilever are roughly 70 billion$. Previously they had two headquarters, one in London and one in Rotterdam (Netherlands/Holland). After successfully lobbying for tax cuts they moved their headquarters to Rotterdam, as the British newspaper commented angrily that Unilever has “gone Dutch”. Dutch are famous for splitting the bill and infamous for their saving habits.

Let me share the interesting list of Unilever products in Pakistan as per their web site:

  • Fair and lovely (our de facto national whitening cream)
  • Surf excel
  • Closeup
  • Lux
  • LifeBouy Soap
  • LifeBouy Shampoo
  • Vim
  • Wall’s ice cream
  • Knorr
  • Rafhan
  • Dove
  • Lipton
  • Brooke-bond Supreme
  • Magnum
  • Pond’s
  • Sunsilk
  • Pepsodent
  • Cornetto
  • Clear
  • Domex
  • Rin
  • Sunlight
  • FRUTTARE
  • Comfort (fabric conditioner)
  • Toni and Guy
  • Paddle pop
  • Brooke Bond Pearl Dust
  • Glaxose D
  • Vaseline

I was amazed, no wonder our trade deficit is alarming. Why can’t we make our own soaps and toothpaste and dish cleaning products? Do we, the Pakistanis live to fill Dutch coffers?

British Petroleum has assets in excess of 270 Billion $s compared to 400+billion of Shell. Gaddafi asked them for a favour and allegedly deals were struck for oil contracts. They used their pressure to release the Lockerbie bomber on humanitarian grounds; he spent some 8 1/2 years of his sentence. He was pardoned and sent to Libya. He had cancer and they said he had 6 months to live. He was convicted in Scotland for 270 counts of murder, he was released in August 2009 on “compassionate grounds” by Scottish authorities and he had 6 months to live at most. He got a hero’s welcome and died in May 2012.

The power of lobbies, especially oil lobbies is immense in the West.

What can we do about it as individuals? For God sake, start buying local products! There is not luxury or supposed peace of mind in buying goods from multinational companies.

Reminds me of something from Punjabi folklore. A cub got lost and was raised by sheep. He used to think he is was a sheep too and acted like them. One day another lion saw him and asked him why the hell are you eating grass and acting like sheep. The lion raised by sheep said because I am a sheep, an argument ensued and the wild lion asked him to slap a sheep, so the lion did and sheep instantly died (Lion’s swipe is third most powerful animal strike). And he realised his power. As Iqbal said:

کبھی اے نوجواں مسلم تدبر بھی کیا تُو نے
وہ کیا گردوں تھا تُو جس کا ہے یک ٹوٹا ہوا تارا

Spread awareness and start using these products at once and preferably use local products or from other countries (at worst). Avoid Shell gas stations completely, prefer PSO but avoid shell at all costs. We should revive the slogan of Be Pakistani Buy Pakistani.

Our Chinese allies are blamed for trade deficit while Shell and Unilever alone are robbing us blind.

What can we do as a nation? We have leadership; we can stand shoulder to shoulder with Erdogan and tell OIC what I just wrote. Pakistan is taking a proactive stance and recently called an emergency meeting of OIC and our foreign minister called his Turkish counterpart. Our Prime Minister said in National Assembly that the West doesn’t know how much we love our Prophet (PBUH) and said he would also raise the matter in UN. Iranian foreign minister is coming to Pakistan today (at the time of writing) to discuss the matter and formulate a joint strategy. Pakistan, Turkey, Iran, Saudis and all the Muslims countries are on the same page here.

Holland makes so much money off Muslims and they offend us at will at state level. If Arabs, Iranians and Nigerians cooperate, which they would looking at sensitivity of the matter, Holland is likely to apologise. Ummah is united. US banned the hideous Quran burning event invoking some cause to protect against fire hazards (wise enough). Hillary (I am not her fan), who was then secretary of state in US said the Great religions of the world are above any insults. Dutch government could have withheld clearance or refused the use of parliament or took a 100 steps to avoid it.

A lot of hashish lovers go to Holland. Marijuana and hashish (chars) is served in cakes in bakeries there baked with cakes and pastries. Prostitution is legal and prostitutes pay taxes. Holland had an image of a country with hippie like happy go lucky attitude in the past.

Holland needs to tame its far right, for Holland itself and world peace.

It is surprising to me at times; Holland was occupied by Nazis in the Second World War and that population must be alive who had seen it first hand. They should ask them what oppression, persecution and lack of respect for other countries and cultures is like. Nazis razed Rotterdam to ground via aerial bombardment after the town had surrendered; it is considered a war crime. Out of all the countries one would expect rationality to prevail in Holland. Need I mention they colonised Indonesia and many Pakistani fought alongside Indonesians for freedom.  The old wounds should be healed. New enmities are not a good idea.

International Court of Justice should be moved from Hague, Holland has lost its credibility and so would ICJ if it is not moved until Holland has made immense. It is surprising how Holland would stir a controversy which would haunt it for a long time, but human history is full of mistakes by leaders. I hope Holland corrects its courts and stop this non sense competition. How would they feel if we have a competition of cartoons on Nazi occupation of Holland and bombing of Rotterdam?  We feel way worse than what Dutch would feel. I hope Gov. of Pakistan mobilises OIC and ends this issue quickly or so called ISIS would benefit from it and add it to their narrative. I hope the sense prevails.

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