According to research by Jonkers-Verwey Institute and Anne Frank Foundation 12% of young Muslims in the Netherlands hold negative views on Jews. However, according to political corresponden Joost de Vries, some critique on the methods of the researchers seems legitimate.
It was for the respondents for example not possible to bring in some nuances in their answers. To the question what they think of Jews, they could only answer ‘positive’, ‘neural’ and ‘not so positive’. Apparently 12% chose the last answer. But ‘not so positive’ says in itself nothing about what the respondents really think and to claim that they hold discriminatory or even anti-semitic views seems premature.
Last Tuesday about a hundred people joined to reflect on the attacks in Paris. Lody van de Kamp, member of the initiative Salaam-Shalom arranged the meeting. Mayor Eberhard van der Laan held a speech, during which people all held up the peace-sign with their fingers. The Mayor said: “We fight too, but with words. And even though we may be divided, in the first place we’re all inhabitants of Amsterdam.”
Via a Skype connection a rabbi and a member from a mosque in Paris joined the meeting and could see how Muslims and Jews in Amsterdam are in solidarity with the French people. The Rabbi hopes to see more of these initiatives in European cities.
According to deputy prime Minister and Minister of Social Affairs Lodewijk Asscher the meeting is a sign from people who refuse to see each other as enemies. He further stated that the Netherlands remains a country where people are allowed to believe what they want, were they can wear signs of their religion such as a headscarf. And democracy is not to be defended with weapons, but with words and courage. Youth should be protected against those who try to seduce them to participate in a jihad.
In Rotterdam there was a similar meeting between Muslims, Jews and Humanists.
Dutch television show Altijd Wat has broadcast a poll stating that almost 75% of Dutch Muslims consider youth travelling to Syria to fight against Assad’s regime to be heroes. The show’s publicity states “In general, Dutch Muslims consider the Syria fighters to be doing what the UN is failing to do, which is battling president Assad’s regime”.
By contrast, “70% of the native Dutch population say they are not heroes”, according to ANP.
The Altijd Wat program is based on research by Motivaction, a research firm based in the Netherlands. Motivaction conducted an poll measuring opinions about the civil war in Syria and Dutch Muslims who travel to Syria to fight (“Syrie-gangers”) The opinion poll canvassed 370 Dutch Muslim and 570 ethnic Dutch individuals for their opinions.
The poll found a great difference in opinions between Dutch Muslims who tended to believe that those traveling to Syria were in accordance with the UN call to act, while ethnic Dutch respondents had much less strong feelings about the war.
Other conclusions in the research include:
-Dutch Muslims are more concerned about events in Syria and want the Assad regime to end as soon as possible.
-The majority of Dutch Muslims approve of the Dutch fight alongside Muslims in Syria; most ethnic Dutch are not in favour.
-Most Dutch Muslims support providing humanitarian aid to Syrian refugees in Turkey.
-Dutch Muslims are more likely than ethnic Dutch to support the provision of weapons to insurgents.
-Ethnic Dutch are more strictly against Muslims traveling to Syria than Dutch Muslims.
The Dutch Muslim Party (NMP) has dissolved, following the resignation of leaders Henny Kreeft and Jacques Visser. The two men, converts to Islam, started the party in 2007 with the purpose of decreasing the gap between Muslims and non-Muslims. The party had little electoral success, winning no seats in the 2010 federal elections, with 0.5% of the vote. The party dissolved because “the time is not ripe for a Muslim party in parliament”, ANP reports.
MP Tofik Dibi of the Green Left has accused the Dutch government of inflating immigration statistics in order to justify their affiliation with the anti-immigration party PVV. Dibi told ANP, “It is bizarre. You would think ministers were pleased the figures were not as high as they make them out to be.”
The discussion centers around granting family reunification visas, the focus of new and increasingly strict immigration policy in the country. Immigration Minister Gerd Leers commented that 25,000 people were given visas in 2010 for family reunification, but as it turns out 4,000 of those visas were for babies born in the Netherlands to immigrants residing in the country. The current coalition government has pledged as a condition of its support from the PVV to reduce immigration from non-western countries by half.
A secondary school in Utrecht has announced that women wearing headscarves have at least 90% of their face visible. ANP reports that the secondary school in the city of Utrecht introduced the rules in June. Teachers will not speak to those wearing scarves that are not at least two centimeters above their eyebrows.
A special committee of Amsterdam’s district court has ordered a retrial for Geert Wilders, the MP facing charges of inciting hatred and discrimination against Muslims with his inflammatory comments The retrial ruling comes after Wilders’ lawyer accused judges of bias and attempting to influence expert witness Hans Jansen. The court’s special review panel ruled that judges had created an appearance of bias in the trial and it therefore has to be repeated. Meanwhile, ANP reports that the president of the high court in the country has commented that Wilders’ is undermining the legal system, that as a member of parliament he is supposed to contribute to the stability of law.
ANP reports that seven men accused of being members of the “Hofstad” terrorist group will go on trial again on Friday, in Amsterdam. The retrial was ordered by the Dutch high court in February after the men were found not guilty on charges as a terrorist organization. The Hofstad (‘capital city’) group, so named for its location in the Hague, is said to include Mohammed Bouyeri, who murdered filmmaker Theo van Gogh in 2004.
Geert Wilders, leader of the right wing Freedom Party (PVV) announced
Thursday that he will establish and international umbrella organization
to “fight for freedom and against Islam”, ANP reports. The
International Freedom Alliance is intended to include individuals and
organizations from the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Germany
and France, and to be formalized by the end of this year. According to
WIlders, IFA aims to operate between the traditional conservative
parties and what he called “unsavoury” far-right parties in these
Artist John van der Dong has created a Post Office Box to receive messages addressed to Allah in the Netherlands. The artist’s previous work includes establishing a hotline at which over 25,000 people left telephone messages to God. Van der Dong intends to keep the letters from his current project unopened and says he will use them in his oil paintings. “What is in the letters is between the writer of the letter and Allah,” he told Dutch news agency ANP.