Judge: case against Wilders’ anti-immigrant remarks will proceed

The Dutch public prosecutor started a case against the Dutch anti-Islam politician Geert Wilder (PVV) in December 2014 on the suspicion of insulting a group of people on the basis of race and for inciting discrimination and hate. The initiative was caused by Wilders’ remarks about Moroccans during a political rally in which he had a crowd of followers chant for “less, less, less” Moroccans. 6400 complains were received, and eventually 61 parties remained, 56 persons and 5 organizations.

Wilders’ lawyer had argued that the case would be political in nature, because the court would give a political judgement about the PVV, her political program, and her voters. This would be a dangerous development, he argued. The court did not agree. While the case has “some political aspects” the court argues that it is eventually the judge who judges where the limits are. This judgement does not entail a judgement about “the sort of democracy the Netherlands should have”, but only about the discriminatory remarks.

The court also disagrees that by proceeding with the case the court would give a judgement about the policy of the PVV or would be limiting the political freedom of Wilders. So the case will proceed and start in two weeks at the heavily guarded court near Schiphol.

One in five Dutch people for closing mosques

22 % of the Dutch people would like all mosques in the Netherlands to close down, as the Dutch anti-Islam party PVV has proposed in the political program for the coming Dutch election. A small majority of 55 % is against the closing of mosques. One in ten of the Dutch people is for the unequal treatment of Muslims.

This came to light in a national poll conducted by I&O Research in corporation with the Dutch news paper Volkskrant and was held amongst 1.456 Dutch people from 18 years of age and older.

A link to the digital version of the research mentioned in this article can be found here:

http://www.ioresearch.nl/Portals/0/I%26O%20Research%20politieke%20peiling%20september%202016%20v3.pdf

Young Muslims practice less religion than their parents

According to a large-scale sociological research conducted by the University of Utrecht Muslim youth in the Netherlands are secularizing. Belief is less important to them then to their parents. They also practice the Islamic rules and practices less. Of girls of whom their mothers wear headscarves one third does not. Almost a third of the boys goes less to the mosque than their fathers.

The research does show however that the process of secularization is slower in comparison to Christian youth. Even though secularization is proceeding religion remains important to a large part of the Muslim youth. For tree quarters of them belief is at least as important to them as to their parents. “This identification as Muslim remains strong amongst youth but the practicing of religious requirements is decreasing”, according to professor of sociology Frank van Tubergen who conducted the research.

A link to the digital version of the research mentioned in this article can be found here:

http://www.trouw.nl/tr/nl/5091/Religie/article/detail/4378432/2016/09/17/Jonge-moslims-doen-minder-aan-geloof-dan-ouders.dhtml

Dutch anti-Islam party presents political program

The Party for Freedom (PVV), under the political leadership of Geert Wilders, the Netherlands’ most well-known anti-Islam politician, has presented a one-page political program for the upcoming elections. It is highly unusual for Dutch parties to present their particular programs in such a short and limited format. It seems the program has established somewhat of a record in this regard.

The PVV program contains controversial, but not new, political goals, including the closing of all mosques and Islamic schools, forbidding the Quran and headscarves, closing all refugees centers and canceling all the residence permits given to refugees. It also re-states the wish of the PVV for the Netherlands to become “independent again”, meaning to “get out if the EU”.

The program rejects the government policies of the Rutte II cabinet on all fronts and aims to undo some of the large retrenchments as well as to lower several taxes. The finances to take these measures the PVV want to cover by completely eliminating public broadcasting services and the funding for developmental aid, wind mills, art, innovation, and the like, stating that “in stead of financing the whole world and the people we don’t want to have here, will spend the money on the common Dutch people”.

Judge: Dutch news paper violated Muslim right to privacy

“De Volkskrant”, one of the main news papers in the Netherlands, has to pay a fine of 1.500 euro to Mohammed Rashid. Rashid’s picture featured in an article of the news paper on security at Schiphol Airport. According to the judge his right to privacy has been violated because of this act. But the judge did not conclude an official rectification was necessary.

The article called “Is Schiphol still safe?” featured a photo of Rashid that was taken without his consent as a visitor of the airport going through a stringent safety control by car. He did not accept what he perceived as a case of negative framing of Muslims and demanded a fine and rectification, demanding an expression of regret towards him, his family, and “the Islamic community of the Netherlands”.

The link below contains a video interviewing Mohammed Rashid and his lawyer for Dutch television about the court decision:

http://www.republiekallochtonie.nl/rechter-volkskrant-schond-met-foto-privacy-mohammed-rashid

Dutch anti-terrorism police arrest suspect at France’s request

March 27, 2016

Dutch anti-terrorism police on Sunday arrested a 32-year-old man in Rotterdam on suspicion of preparing an attack on France and also detained three other people, national prosecutors said.

“French authorities on Friday requested the arrest of the French citizen, who had been identified in a terrorism investigation,” prosecutors said in a statement. He was suspected of “involvement in preparing a terrorist attack.”

The arrests were carried out by a specialized anti-terrorism police squad, and the Dutch intelligence agency AIVD and prosecutors also took part in the operation, prosecutors said. Two of the others detained were described as aged 43 and 47 and “having an Algerian background,” while the third had not yet been identified.

Police were searching two addresses in western Rotterdam associated with the suspect, and people living in nearby buildings had been evacuated as a precautionary measure, the prosecutors said. The suspect will be extradited to France as quickly as possible, they said.

The arrests came with Europe on heightened alert after Tuesday’s suicide bomb attacks at Brussels Airport and on a rush-hour metro train that killed 31 people, including three attackers, and injured hundreds more. Islamic State has claimed responsibility.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve congratulated intelligence services’ work and the cooperation among European countries that he said helped thwart a potential attack in France.

Cazeneuve said their work helped result in a first arrest outside of Paris on Thursday, then another in Brussels on Saturday and a third in the Netherlands. “Intelligence services work relentlessly to protect our territory in a context of high threat,” Cazeneuve said in a statement.

The Netherlands will not shelter more than 500 refugees

30 March 2016

The Netherlands refuses to shelter more than five hundred recognized refugees through the United Nations, despite the urgent request of the UN-refugee organization UNHCR to increase the amounts.

The Dutch Foundation for Refugees (VluchtelingenWerk Nederland) thinks it is “scandalous” that the Netherlands will not increase the amounts, especially in the context of the refugee crisis and the call of the UNHCR. According to the UNHCR 480.000 refugees need to be relocated.

“Especially while the Netherlands is now chairman of the EU, the Netherlands is acting shamefully by retaining this stance,” Jasper Kuipers of the Dutch Foundation for Refugees said.

The relocation is an issue that is separate from the European deal to spread 160.000 Syrian refugees throughout the EU. This issue relates to people who were stranded in Greece and Italy. The Netherlands has pledged to take in several thousands of this group. At the moment approximately a hundred people stay in the Netherlands out of this group.

Dutch minister declines extra security after attacks on mosques

1 March 2016

Ard van der Steur, the Dutch Minister of Security and Justice, is not planning to take extra security measures after a sequence of severe threats and attacks on mosques. “If measures should be taken this is the responsibility of municipalities”, he said during a debate in the Dutch parliament on the matter.

Ahmed Marcouch, a parliamentary member of the Dutch Labour Party, observes that the amount of violent incidents against mosques and visitors of mosques is increasing. “In the past five years there have been two hundred incidents: raining from heads of pigs to fire bombs and molotov cocktails. […] These incidents can no longer be called occasional.”

He is furthermore concerned about the organizational character of the “resistance” against Muslims and mosques, exemplified by a pamphlet with Nazi-symbols and discriminatory language that was send to various mosques recently.

Ministers Lodewijk Asscher (integration) and Van der Steur will soon get in touch with representatives of the Dutch Muslim community to convey to them the position of the Dutch government.

Selçuk Öztürk, parliamentary member of the new Muslim political movement called DENK, reacted by saying that the Muslim community is not waiting for talking sessions. “Synagogues are rightly being provided with extra security. The cabinet has reserved extra finances for this. Why does this not happen for mosques?”, he demanded. He believes the Dutch government is using double standards and fears that there should first be casualties before the minister takes action.

Dutch anti-Islam politician Wilders does not rule out legal ban of Islam in the future

29 March 2016

Geert Wilders, leader of the Dutch anti-Islam party PVV (Party for Freedom), has not ruled out a possible future legal ban on Islam. “It might get that far at some point”, he said during a recent parliamentary debate on the Brussel Attacks.

According to Wilders the time has begun to become intolerant to the intolerant. As far as he is concerned this means that the borders in the Netherlands close and an effort must be put into the de-Islamization of the Netherlands in order to protect the Dutch culture.

Halbe Zijlstra, party chairman of the Dutch Liberal Party (VVD), reacted resentfully to Wilders’ proposal: “Everyone in the Netherlands enjoys the same freedoms, be they Muslim, Jew, or atheist.” According to Zijlstra Wilders cannot defend the Dutch cultural values and freedoms of equal rights as long as he differentiates on the basis of religion.

Tunahan Kuzu, parliamentary member for the new Muslim political movement called DENK, pointed out to Wilders that a ban on religion and “intolerance against the intolerant” was also at play in Nazi-Germany, right before the Second World War. “This is ver sad indeed”, he said.