Orthodox Muslims in Netherlands ‘Not Radical’

September 24 2010

Recent research by the University of Amsterdam suggests that some 12% if Dutch Moroccan Muslims consider themselves orthodox. The figure for Dutch Turkish Muslims is one in 20. According to these figures, the country is home to roughly 36 000 orthodox Muslims. Researcher Jean Tillie, while calling the results “bad news for democracy”, as more orthodox survey respondents back a theocray- though they also have confidence in the Dutch government. Tillie noted that orthodox and radical Muslims must not be equated. The report concluded that strictly orthodox Muslims do not pose a security threat to the country.
In response, Justice Minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin announced that the threat level in the country would not be raised. At the same time, Amsterdam’s diversity Alderman Andree van Es suggested that ‘enormous numbers’ of women ‘can’t behave as they would want to’ within orthodox Muslim communities.

US interest in Dutch anti-terrorism measures

During a visit to America, Dutch Justice Minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin met with Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano to discuss the ways the Netherlands deals with ‘local terrorists’, such as Mohammed Bouyeri. Trouw reports that the American were particularly interested in the ways national security services in the Netherlands work.

Dutch MPs demand debate on Islam conference

Members of Parliament are calling for a debate with justice minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin regarding a conference scheduled at the end of May on the future of Islam in the Netherlands. The Telegraaf reports that the MPs are concerned about the involvement of the Muslim Brotherhood in the conference, entitled “Islam in Holland- Meditating on the Present and Future Horizons”. According to the organizers, the conference aims to clarify misunderstandings around controversial issues of Islam in the Netherlands.

Dutch government tightens regulation on foreign marriages

The Dutch government plans to introduce measures to stem the influx of foreign brides and grooms. Would-be marriage migrants will have to be at least 18, and marriages between cousins, aunts and uncles will no longer be allowed.

The measures are aimed at marriages between Dutch residents of foreign origin – particularly from Turkey and Morocco, but increasingly also Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia – and people from their respective countries. There are concerns that such marriages are an obstacle to the integration of ethnic minorities into Dutch society, Radio Netherlands reports.

Dutch justice minister, Ernst Hirsch Ballin stated that “the new rules are meant to protect the Dutch society and the women themselves”.

The civic integration exam, which would-be marriage migrants have to pass before being admitted to the Netherlands, is to be made more difficult. Under the new system, potential import brides and grooms will have to meet higher Dutch language criteria. They will also have to participate in job training upon arrival.

Shari’a Must Not Break Dutch Law

The government will crack down on attempts to practice aspects of sharia (Islamic) law in the Netherlands which involve compulsion, pressure and a misuse of power, justice minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin told parliament on Tuesday. The minister said that some differences may be settled in a manner which does not conflict with public order, so long as they were entered into voluntarily. Nonetheless the cabinet’s job, according to Ballin, is to prevent the establishment of a parallel system in which “people take the law into their own hands or maintain their own legal system which operates outside the framework of our own legal system”.

Dutch minister investigates Islamic marriages

Dutch Justice Minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin is considering whether measures against ‘Islamic marriage’ ought to be introduced. Islamic weddings in the Netherlands are generally unofficial, non-government sanctioned ceremonies based on Islamic law. Contracts in Islamic marriages are not legally recognized under Dutch law. As such, there will be no alimony if a couple divorces, and an Islamically bound spouse is not automatically eligible for inheritance if one member of the marriages dies. Labour Party politicians have repeatedly expressed concern that such religious weddings may be forced for some, and may involve polygamy. Ballin condemns the practice, and said that he is not ruling out future criminal proceedings for people who enter into Islamic marriages (without making the marriage legal under Dutch law).

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Dutch ministers take action on street youth

Dutch ministers pledged to meet with local officials in neighborhoods where many immigrants live, in an effort to curb the “nuisance” caused by gangs of Dutch Moroccan youth. A heated debate in parliament erupted between home affairs minister Guusje ter Horst and justice minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin – this following growing unease about the behavior of Dutch-Moroccan youth who appear to be creating “no-go” areas in the city of Gouda. The ministers pledged that no-one ought to get away with making the streets unsafe. Verbal harassment, spitting, and swearing are some of the activities that the Dutch-Moroccan youth are accused of. Unemployment and leaving school early are citied among the reasons why these youth may be engaging in such activities.

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No action against informal marriages

In response to questions about informal marriages in the Netherlands, Minister of Justice Ernst Hirsch Ballin said that those who contract informal Muslim marriages should not be punished, but fought with dialogue and information. Hirsch Ballin answered the parliamentary questions of two Labor Party members, who said that they fear informal Muslim marriages could cause forces marriages and polygamy. By law, it is forbidden to contract marriages without being registered; a religious marriage is allowed, but only if it is preceded by a civil marriages.

Fitna’ Debated in Dutch Parliament: Wilders Denies Softening Film after Pressure

Dutch politician Geert Wilders came under attack over his controversial film “Fitna” during a rowdy debate in the Netherlands’ parliament Monday. Ministers claimed that Wilders had toned down the original version of the film. Geert Wilders had originally planned to include footage of pages being torn out of the Koran and burned in his film Fitna, ministers said yesterday during a rowdy debate in parliament. Justice minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin used the debate to make public confidential notes taken during meetings between himself, Wilders, home affairs minister Guusje ter Horst and the Dutch anti-terrorism coordinator in October and November last year.http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,545002,00.html

Secrecy about anti-Koran film worries Dutch government

The secrecy about the content and release date of the anti-Quran film made by a Dutch right-wing politician is worrying officials, who are trying to anticipate reaction and security needs. Ernst Hirsch Ballin told parliament that it would be easier to prepare and assess possible risks if the government knew when populist Geert Wilders planned to release his film, and what was in it. Wilders, who calls the Muslim holy book the Quran as fascist book that incites violence has given few details about the film and has not specified when the film would be released. Ahead of the film’s release, the Netherlands raised its national risk level to substantial earlier this month.