17 August 2012
New research by Chris Aalberts of Erasmus University in Rotterdam shows that the majority of Dutch residents supporting Geert Wilders and his PVV party are not in agreement with the politiican’s anti-Islam stance. According to Aalbert’s research, conducted through in depth interviews with supporters, only a small minority of supporters see Islam as a serious threat; rather, Wilders draws support from those “concerned about the more humdrum irritations of daily life” who identify anti-Islam rhetoric as a way of bringing their issues to the table, Radio Netherlands Worldwide reports. Aalbert’s research and the media coverage comes with the commencement of national campaigns for a September parliamentary election.
10 October 2011
The Dutch Physicians’ Association and women’s groups have responded to a lawyer whose doctoral thesis urged legalization of a ‘minor form of female circumcision. The thesis, presented at Erasmus University, suggested that “cultural freedom should take precedence”, while a speaker for the Gynaecoloigcal Patients Association responded that “circumcision is torture, plain and simple.”
News coverage of Tariq Ramadan’s dismissal from the Rotterdam city council and Erasmus University continues this week, DutchNews reports from NRC and Volkskrant. Erasmus University in officials are angry with the decision. “’It is a politicial [sic] decision and we are shocked about it,’ economics professor Arjo Klamer said. Professors can only be sacked if they are suspected of commiting a crime, fail to turn up to do their job or damage the university’s reputation, he said.”
University faculty members and employees have released an open letter protesting the dismissal on the grounds that it threatens academic freedom. Ramadan was dismissed by Erasmus and from his advisory job at the city council last week because of his involvement with an Iranian television show.
Following controversy regarding his participation in a television program on Iranian station Press TV, Rotterdam has fired Tariq Ramadan from his position as Integration Advisor for the city council. NRC reports that officials feel Ramadan can no longer lead dialogue in the city as he has become the central focus of debate. Ramadan has also lost his position as professor of identity and citizenship at Rotterdam’s Erasmus University.
Ramadan refuses to accept the dismissal and is taking legal action against Rotterdam council as he feels he has been treated disrespectfully. According to NRC Ramadan maintains that he “does not support the current Iranian government, and says he has full editorial freedom. He believes change in Iran should come from within, for example through television. He also says he has been completely open about his television sideline. It is even mentioned on the homepage of his personal website.” Rather, he suggests that the controversy is due to the current political climate in the Netherlands and the increasing popularity of Geert Wilders.
Ramadan, 46, has been attached to the city council for two years and is a visiting professor at Erasmus University, a post paid for by Rotterdam. The dismissal comes after it emerged that Ramadan presents a weekly programme on Iran’s Press TV which is paid for by the Iranian authorities. Ramadan was asked to present the Iranian show Islam & Life two years ago because of his position on a list of worldwide intellectuals, according to Press TV’s Matthew Richardson, reports the AD.
Three opposition parties in the Rotterdam city council are calling for Tariq Ramadan’s resignation because of his collaboration with Iranian state television station Press TV. Ramadan was hired by the city in 2007 to help bridge the divide between Muslims and non-Muslims, and he lectures at Rotterdam’s Erasmus University. Ramadan has been hosting a weekly talkshow on Press TV titled ‘Islam & Life’. The conservative VVD, the local populist party Liveable Rotterdam and the Socialist Party say the local authority should stop consulting Mr Ramadan as an adviser.