Theo van Gogh, a film director who made movies that poked holes in the multi-cultural veil of willful ignorance, was killed on November 2, 2004. His murderer took offense at his film Submission, which dealt with the issue of abuse of women in the Muslim world. He shot van Gogh 8 times, tried to cut his head off, then stabbed him in the chest with two knives, pinning an Islamic screed to his dead body. This forced Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali born member of the Dutch parliament who wrote the script for the film, to go into hiding for her own safety.
Was van Gogh a hero? Depends on how you look at it. What he did shouldn’t have been remarkable. Having freedom of religion and speech means you have to take the responsiblity to deal with it when someone exercises their right to free speech to criticize your religion.
Was he a martyr? Yes he was, in just about the textbook definition of the word. He was killed because someone who couldn’t control their own violence decided that what he had done was worthy of killing him. Because of his words, he was murdered.
This is what we are fighting: People who believe that the answer to objectionable speech is violence, not more speech. People who believe that to believe differently than what they do, much less publicly question their practices, is to invite your own murder. We can never forget that, and we should never forget Theo van Gogh, a man who was butchered because he had the temerity to point out that the Dar al Islam is not paradise on earth.