The Dutch cabinet recently presented an Action Plan for Self-determination. The cabinet will provide a yearly one million euros until 2017 to combat forced marriages, homophobia and violence related to honor. More than 150 specially trained volunteers will be supported to bring these taboo themes up for discussion among their own communities. Additionally a social media campaign will be initiated with stories related by people who support a change of mentality on these themes. This was written to the Dutch Lower House by Minister of Social Affairs and Employment Lodewijk Asscher.
Dutch Vice-Prime Minister Lodewijk Asscher and Minister of Security and Justice Ivo Opstelten conducted a meeting on 9 January with representatives from various Muslim communities. The Contact Organization for Muslims and State (CMO), the Council of Dutch Moroccan Mosques (RMMN), the Co-determination Organization of Turks (IOT), and the Dutch Corporation for Refugees (VON) have attended the meeting. The immediate cause of the meeting was the posed threat to Dutch mosques, which has become even more urgent due to current developments.
The attack in France led to feelings of abhorrence and dismay. This was widely expressed during the meeting. There was mutual appreciation of the warm responses and expressions of solidarity from society. However at the same time concern was expressed over the rising tensions caused by the Paris assault, the incidents in Sweden and the anti-Islam demonstrations in surrounding countries.
Due to the increase of incidents against mosques in the Netherlands an appeal was made for an increased attention for Muslim hatred. Concrete agreements were made to improve the registration of acts of Muslim hatred. The Dutch cabinet has expressed their commitment to vigilantly observe the security conditions and, of necessary, take additional protection measures.
A recent research executed by the Social and Cultural Planning Bureau (SCP) among conservative muslims and protestants shows that a majority disapproves of homosexuality. 53 percent of Muslims and 58 percent of Protestants (outside of the mainstream Dutch Protestant Church) believes homosexuality is wrong.
Both groups show little difference in views among youth and elders. The research also shows that seventy 5 percent of conservative muslims and protestants would find it problematic if their children would have a partner of the same gender.
The Dutch Minister of Education, Culture and Science Jet Bussemaker has expressed the need for more investment into the acceptance of homosexuality. In the Dutch parliament the Labour Party (PvdA) – the party of which Bussemaker is a member – wants to organize a public hearing of experts and consequently hold a debate with the Dutch cabinet.
The research furthermore shows that Dutch natives are more acceptive of homosexuality than Dutch citizens with an immigrant background. 10 percent of Dutch natives see homosexuality as something thats wrong while 50 percent of Dutch citizens with Turkish or Moroccan backgrounds think this is the case.
COC – an interest group for gay rights – believes that change should come from within migrant communities. Gays with a Moroccan or Turkish background could play an important role the organization thinks. The COC did express their opinion that the government should support relevant initiatives from these groups more frequently.
July 12 2013
Dutch Social Affairs Minister Lodewijk Asscher has commented on the right to religious freedom in the Netherlands, stating that “The increasing visibility of Islam in our society, the different traditions and views, and the association with violence and radicalization have led to part of the people seeing Islam as a threat. This is a worrying development because this threatens the cohesion and stability in society”.
Asscher’s comments are in response to questions from Geert Wilders regarding a recent poll showing that a majority of Dutch support stopping further immigration from Islamic countries. The poll was commissioned by Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party (PVV) and conducted by Maurice de Hond. Canvassing 1900 respondents on their feelings about Islam and immigration from Islamic countries, the poll suggests that 68% of respondents believe that there is “now enough” Islam in the Netherlands. Respondents also suggested that the population would support a halt in building new mosques. Asscher rejects both proposals, and notes that the cabinet is not planning to block immigrants from Islamic countries.
Poll results also show that attitudes towards Islam and immigration in the country are predominantly negative, though a large discrepancy exists among demographics: the elderly population is much more negative than younger voters, and those with a relatively high education much less negative than those with a low education.
Sadiq Khan was appointed to the Privy Council and first asked to attend cabinet meetings in June 2009, Labour’s MP for Tooting became the first Asian and first Muslim to do so. He is quoted as saying the following on the lack of diversity in government “You can get obsessed by it and people do. Just by virtue of the fact that mass immigration only happened 30/40 years ago, there are going to be lots of first-ofs” – but the lack of diversity, not just ethnically, but “the shortage of women and of people from different backgrounds” makes it hard not to feel some sense of isolation. “When you first get to No 10 and everyone else around the cabinet table is white … If during Ramadan I’m fasting, people get it, but when you’re the only one, you do sort of stand out.”
The report continues and states that balancing his faith and his role as an MP, has not always been easy. Last month, he was the subject of a fatwa calling for his death after he voted in favour of same-sex marriage. In response Khan stated that “What all minorities need to recognise is today in a pluralistic society it’s not just a question of tolerating others, you’ve got to respect others. I challenge anybody to find another country in the world which is more progressive or has laws that protect minorities more than this country. I speak to my cousins in Pakistan or India and they make the point that because [my family] aren’t well off and don’t have contacts in those countries, notwithstanding the fact that there is a Muslim majority in Pakistan, they couldn’t dream of being in the cabinet or doing the stuff that I’ve done here, and I’m a minority in the UK both religiously and ethnically and in all sorts of ways.”
March 22 2013
Dutch Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten will investigate whether it is legally possible to confiscate the passports of young Dutch nationals who plan to fight in Syria, reports Nos television. The minister said in a cabinet meeting that “we have to prevent them from travelling”, following a majority of parliament members calling on the cabinet to investigate the possibility.
16 June 2012
The facade of the premises where the Pakistani community wanted to open a mosque in Gasteiz was flooded with xenophobic graffiti.
The Mosque that revived the specter of xenophobia in Gasteiz during the last election campaign and in the beginning of this electoral term, will not be installed on the Martin Olave street, in the neighborhood of Zaramaga. This was decided by the Pakistani community, on the basis of “social peace” with the neighboring area even knowing that reason and law would protect them. Eight months ago the promoters of the Mosque had signed an agreement with the cabinet of Javier Maroto agreeing to find a new location according to their needs, inside or outside the neighborhood. The construction license is therefore open and the Pakistani community is hoping to find a less controversial site for their Mosque.
News Agencies – May 18, 2012
Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, 34, is the youngest member of the cabinet which assembled under the chairmanship of President François Hollande. She is the Minister for Women’s Affairs and will be the official spokeswoman for the government and, therefore, the mouthpiece for “Hollandism”.
The first Socialist French government for 10 years is stuffed – some say over-stuffed – with messages and symbols. It is the first government in France, or any large democracy, to be perfectly gender-balanced – 17 men and 17 women. Mr Hollande and his Prime Minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, have also reached out to racial minorities, youth and the Eurosceptic wing of the French left. There is no message more striking than that embodied by Ms Vallaud-Belkacem, after an election in which immigration and Islam were used as cudgels by both the far right and by the centre-right president, Nicolas Sarkozy.
A married mother of twins, Ms Vallaud-Belkacem is a “non-practising Muslim”. After winning scholarships to elite colleges, she calls herself a “pure product of the [egalitarianism] of the [French] Republic”.
11 May 12
In Bilbao, in the neighborhood of San Francisco, a citizens’ social group, designated the 48003 movement, is considering to organize demonstrations “against the building of a mosque in the Conception street,” “since the City does not defend our interests or the law ‘, the movement claims against the City Hall administration. They feel “discriminated” by the cabinet of Inaki Azkuna, which they say it, has applied a “double standard” by stopping the edification of the Basurto mosque where as at the same time has authorized the construction of the mosque in Conception street.
The Globe and Mail – April 11, 2012
The conservative French government unveiled new counterterrorism measures to punish those who visit extremist websites or travel to weapons-training camps abroad, in the wake of deadly shootings by a suspected Islamic extremist in southern France last month. The measures now go to Parliament, where it may face resistance from the Socialists, who say France’s legal arsenal against terrorism is already strong enough and that the proposal is a campaign ploy to boost President Nicolas Sarkozy’s chances at a second term.
Mr. Sarkozy’s cabinet gave its go-ahead to measures that would make it illegal to travel abroad to “indoctrination and weapons-training camps for terrorist ends” or to regularly visit websites that incite or praise deadly terrorism. Mr. Sarkozy’s government insists the measures are needed to fight the relatively new phenomenon of “lone wolf” terrorism by extremists who self-radicalize online via jihadist Web sites, and are hard for authorities to track.