On May 6, 2002, a Dutch sociologist and writer turned politician named Pim Fortuyn was gunned down in a parking lot in Hilversum in the Netherlands.  He had just come from an interview (Hilversum, outside of Amsterdam, is the headquarters of the Dutch electronic media), one of many he had given in previous weeks in advance of the general election, which was scheduled for May 15.  Despite the relentless smear campaign directed against him by the Dutch political and media establishment, Fortuyn's party, Lijst Pim Fortuyn, was doing extremely well in the polls, and it looked as though, barring a major upset, he would actually become the next prime minister of the Netherlands.

The prospect was remarkable, for more reasons than one.  For one thing, if Fortuyn won, he would be the first openly gay head of state or government of any country in the world, ever.  But under the circumstances, his sexual orientation was barely more than a footnote.  What really mattered, and what gave hope to so many voters in his country and to observers around the world, was that Fortuyn was a social scientist who had gone into politics for one reason and one reason only: because he saw that the precipitous rise of Islam in the West, and especially in his own nation, was a catastrophic development, and he was determined to do everything he could to preserve the liberty and equality that he cherished before it was too late.

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