Various Turkish-Dutch organizations and the Moroccan-Dutch organization Emcemo have presented 52.000 autographs and a petition to the Education Commission of the Dutch Second Chamber. They want a re-instatement of mother tongue education on Dutch primary schools.
The Court of Justice in The Hague has concluded that the Dutch state is not obliged to finance the teaching of Turkish at Dutch primary schools.
The Turkish labour foundation HTIB is one of the initiators of the petition. According to chairman Mustafa Ayranci mother tongue education is a right for Turkish children which is the reason why it needs to be re-established. According to the organizations the abolishment of mother tongue education is against international agreements, especially the International Agreement for Children’s Rights.
More information about the initiative and the text of the petition can be found via this link:
The Dutch Muslim organization Platform Moslims in The Hague has started a hotline for Muslims who feel threatened or discriminated. The organization was established recently and unites nineteen Islamic organization and mosques. Platform Moslims has stated that it wants to lower the threshold for Muslims to report incidents. At the hotline victims are being directed to the police and explained the possibilities of reporting the incident to the authorities.
One of The Hague’s governors Rabin Baldewsing has stated that expressions of “Islamophobia,” just like expressions of anti-semitism, should be allocated to a separate register. According to Baldewsing Muslim discrimination is currently being downplayed.
Another Muslim initiative is the project called Hirasa Center, an initiative of the Tasmim foundation. It’s goals is to provide surveillance for mosques. The initiators hope to eventually involve all Dutch mosques in this project in which volunteers work as security personal. The initiators have voiced their intention to work together with the CMO, the Dutch organization for Muslim-government relations. In addition the organization aims to inform the public about Islamophobia and to provide victim care and self-defense courses to women that have had to deal with Islamophobic aggression.
According to the Dutch Vice-Premier and Minister of Social Affairs Lodewijk Asscher democracy can not only be protected with arms but also with words, educators, and police officers. Therefore the Dutch cabinet will reserve extra money for activities that are aimed at combating radicalization and social unrest.
Asscher mentioned this during an explanation of the cabinet’s decision to invest extra millions into security measures. According to the minister it’s about how a society can make it’s youth more able to resist “the poison” that is spread [in society, ed.]. These endeavors are mostly developed locally: in class rooms, youth care, and in neighborhoods. Municipalities are being supported in their struggle, Asscher said.
The freedom of the Netherlands might be “our greatest good,” the minister said. “The Freedom to determine for yourself if you believe in God and which one that might be. To not believe anymore at all, the freedom to say what you want. The freedom to choose your own partner, to design your own life. That freedom is exactly what the terrorists want to destroy and what we together protect,” he said.
According to the minister it is not about a battle between Muslims and non-Muslims but about “a battle between freedom and force, between democracy and dictatorship.”
Recently groups of Muslim youth related to the Dutch department of the Turkish Muslim organization Millî Görüş (Millî Görüş North Netherlands) distributed roses in The Hague, Rotterdam, Amsterdam and other large Dutch cities. The organization has stated that by organizing this event it wanted to contribute to more solidarity and understanding between different groups in society. The same project has been executed by sister departments of the Muslim organization in six other European countries.
The Dutch Muslim blog wijblijvenhier.nl (English: “We’re here to stay”) dedicated an article to the project and interviewed some of the Muslim youngsters to determine their motivation for participating in such a project. The article can be read via the link below (in Dutch):
More than half of Dutch teachers (61 %) have been witness to verbal or physical offenses against Muslims by their students. With that, discrimination against Muslims occurs more often than antisemitism (36 %) or discrimination against Christians (30 %), but less often than discrimination against homosexuals (77 %). These conclusions were based on a research report by research bureau Panteia who, at the behest of the Anna Frank Foundation and FORUM, conducted research on Muslim discrimination in Dutch higher education (the research report can be found via the link below).
The Anne Frank Foundation aims with this research, in which 498 teachers participated, to develop a current view on the nature and size of Muslim discrimination in Dutch high schools. The research is a follow up to the research that was conducted in 2013 on antisemitism in Dutch higher education.
A majority of the teachers (76 %) did not observe an increase or decrease of cases of Muslim discrimination in comparison to earlier years. Cases of Muslim discrimination most often occur in lower sectors of Dutch higher education such as in the sector of practical education (78 %) or profession-aimed VMBO education (70 %) and less often in higher sectors of Dutch education such as HAVO (55 %) or VWO (51 %).
Causes for incidents are most often related to (media) attention for disorderly of criminal behavior by youth with a (supposed) Islamic background. Attention for terrorism or terrorist organizations in the Netherlands or abroad are seen by teachers as possible causes for incidents. Perpetrators are more often men than women (57 % against 8 %). Typical perpetrators have a Dutch indigenous background (84 %), are from the lower sector of VMBO education (58%) and, according to the teachers, often either do not have a religious background (41 %) or the religious background is unknown (32 %).
Victims are most often of Moroccan or Turkish descent. According to the teachers in almost half of the most recents incidents the victim suffered from medium (30 %) or strong (13 %) emotional damage.
Link to the Panteia research report:
France was already threatened by ISIL in February. Several weeks later, the group struck again. In an audio message posted online, Abou Mohammad Al-Adnani, official spokesman for the jihadist group, declared the group hopes to “topple the White House, Big Ben and the Eiffel Tower.” Throughout the 27 minutes, he discussed possible attacks against French interests.
After remaining silent for two months, Abou Mohammad Al-Adnani named cities in which those “faithful” to the Islamic State should carry out attacks such as Paris, Rome, and Jerusalem.
However in a tweet by Abu Abdullah Britani, a British jihadist, London and Washington were also cited. “Oh dogs of the United Kingdom…all you will see is horror on peoples faces and your Big Ben reduced to dust…Oh dirty rats of France, expect the destruction of your Eiffel Tower and for your country to give in to anarchy” he writes. In contrast, ISIL accepted Boko Haram’s allegiance who Al-Adnani believes “should give more power to the organization.”
Al-Adani stated that “no one can overcome the Islamic State. We go from victory to victory with the Grace of God.” “You are weak and cowardly…Convert or you will suffer the Law of the Islamic State when your armies are annihilated from the peninsula of Muhammad to Jerusalem and all the Muslim world,” he concluded, addressing Jews and Christians.
Since the January 2015 attacks, books discussing Islam are in high demand. An increase in sales can be seen both on Amazon and in local bookstores.
Sales of the Quran have increased throughout France. On Amazon, Malek Chebel’s translation of the Quran claims the sixth most-sold book in the “Religion” category. At a bookstore Sauramps in Montpellier, more than 150 Qurans have been sold since the Charle Hebdo attacks. Normally, the store sells 10 to 15 each month. La Procure in Paris has noted an increase of 6 or 7 Qurans sold each week, instead of the usual 2 each week.
Introductory books about Islam are the most popular among readers, notably those by Tariq Ramadan as well as the recently published Plaidoyer pour la fraternité by Abdennour Bidar. The Procure notes that sales of Petite introduction à l’islam, written by Pierre Claverie who was killed in 1996 in Algeria, have tripled.
Since January 7 bookstores have also seen an increase in book sales about the illustrators at Charlie Hebdo as well as those about the Islamic State. “It’s a similar phenomenon to that of September 11. The majority of sales are by individuals who are taking the initiative to learn about the religion themselves,” said an employee at Sauramps. For three weeks, current events have led to an increase in book sales discussing jihadism, as for example, journalist Anna Erelle’s experience In the shoes of a jihadist.
The Petit traité de l’intolerance by Charb, as well as La BD est Charlie are number 66 and 43 in the Top 100 sellers on Amazon. More generally, Edwy Plenel’s book Pour les musulmans and Qu’Allah bénisse la France by Abdel Malik have also seen their sales increase since January 7, 2015.
It’s not the first time that the Great Mosque of Belfort has invited non-Muslims, but it’s undeniable that the following the Charlie Hebdo attacks the exposition “the beauty of the Islam or how to explain Islam” takes a somewhat unusual twist.
Among the questions frequently asked by visitors, the place of the woman in Islam, especially “why women are mistreated.”
“We tell them they are not and explain the prophetic origin. We noticed that non-Muslims have an erroneous interpretation of Islam and the place of women. They also ask us how we practice our religion, especially after the January attacks in Paris against Charlie Hebdo and ask what is happening in the Middle East,” responded Habdel Hamid Hadjil, cultural coordinator at the mosque.
The next public visits will be held May 23-25.
From March 6-8, France 3 asked French philosophers: “What should French secularism be?”
For Michel Onfray, atheist philosopher, “secularism must evolve,” because when the 1905 law was proclaimed, “we were in an ultra Catholic non-Muslim context.” He calls for a “republican Islam: We should be able to allow imams to be trained in France and there should be public financing for all places of worship. We know very well that as long as we allow mosques to be privately financed, it will be funded by businesses in Saudi Arabic and Qatar, who believe in a fundamentalist interpretation of Islam, they will be the ones to place and monitor the imams.”
For Onfray, the law separating the Church and State is hypocritical. “We know very well that the Republic has rights over religion. Today a bishop is named with the approval of the political powers in place.” Onfray believes that “we need to stop making secularism a religion,” and instead must “rethink it in the historical context, in the sociology and the demography of our country.”