Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Historical ironies and ugly habits

[Theo Van Gogh] frequently insulted Muslims and their prophet, calling the former geiteneuker ("goat-fuckers"). [This] did not stop him from also insulting Jews and many others.

...almost certainly unknown to van Gogh, the Dutch obscenity he used, neuken, is by origin Arabic, indeed to be found in the Qur'an, where it is the normal term for marital relations: French, English and Spanish all have the same slang word - niquer, nooky, noqui-noqui - transmitted in the Dutch case via contact with Arab traders in South Africa, as is the all-purpose racist term of abuse kaffir, from the Muslim term for an "infidel"
-- from Fred Halliday on Islam and Europe: a debate in Amsterdam.

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