Dutch Progressives Should Talk About Women, Gay Rights in Islam

October 11 2010

The leader of the Dutch Green Party (GroenLinks) called this week for her colleagues to express their opinions about the position of women and gays in Muslim communities. Speaking during a lecture on the freedom of religion, Femke Halsema suggested that progressives show their passion for promoting the rights of Muslim homosexuals and women. Halsema called for a nuanced approach in which politicians “protect freedom and criticize lack of freedom within their own circles”.

GroenLinks Leader Feels “Islam is a Problem”

Leftwing Green (GroenLinks) leader Femke Halsema expressed criticism of Islam in an interview with newspaper De Pers, stating that the religion is “of course a problem”. The statement was a response to the newspaper’s suggestion that the ‘progressive’ GroenLinks does not campaign against orthodox Islam. Halsema reacted dismissively to the claim, citing her provocative 2006 criticism of fundamental Muslims, fundamental American Christians and the Roman Catholic Church as an “axis of religious evil” for their oppression of women. Invited to criticize Islam without making a parallel attack on Catholicism, Halsema did not shy away. “I notice it in my district: of course Islam is a problem. Anyway, specifically Islam in combination with illiteracy. It is: having few of your own opinions about the good life. (…) Being fearful of our society and thereby becoming very susceptible to what the Imam thinks, who is often very conservative.”