Dutch PM: Islam does not equal violence

Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende issued a brief response to the release of Geert Wilders’ anti-Quran film ‘Fitna’ saying that he is pleased with the even-handed reactions from the Muslim world. However, Balkenende rejected the film’s equation of Islam with violence and said that the film had no goal other than to hurt feelings. He continued, saying that the problem… is not religion, but the misuse of religion.

Dutch PM requests French help with Anti-Islam Film

Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende requested France to show solidarity should his country suffer any fallout over an anti-Islamic film made by Dutch right-wing parliamentarian, Geert Wilders. Without going into any details, Balkenende told reporters, We have indicated that if necessary we will need diplomatic support. Sarkozy’s spokesperson responded that the French president had suggested establishing a European Union fund to protect people threatened by murky fanatics over issues of freedom of speech in the EU.

Dutch Mosques Develop Strategy Against Extremism

Three mosques in Amsterdam have presented the Jan Peter Balkenende, the prime minister of the Netherlands, with a plan to combat religious extremism. The plans explain how they will detect extremists and lay out how they will cooperate with authorities in confronting the problem. The plans are a result of agreements between teh city of Amsterdam and the mosques following the murder of Theo Van Gogh. {(continued below in French)} Trois mosqu_es d’Amsterdam devaient pr_senter lundi au Premier ministre n_erlandais Jan Peter Balkenende un code de conduite contre l’extr_misme, selon le Service d’information du Royaume (RVD). Dans ce code, ces mosqu_es du quartier du Baarsjes, _ forte population immigr_s, expliquent comment elles comptent d_tecter des comportements extr_mistes parmi les fid_les, ce qu’elles font pour contrer l’extr_misme et comment elles impliquent les autorit_s dans la lutte contre ce ph_nom_ne. C’est le r_sultat d’un accord entre mosqu_es et la ville d’Amsterdam, conclu apr_s le meurtre au nom de l’islam radical du cin_aste Theo van Gogh, destin_ _ d_tecter l’extr_misme islamique et _ d_fendre la libert_ d’expression. Plusieurs imams aux Pays-Bas ont appel_ les fid_les _ ne pas prot_ger d’_ventuels membres du r_seau islamiste Hofstadgroep accus_ de pr_parer des attentats aux Pays-Bas, et dont l’assassin de van Gogh aurait fait partie. Selon le quotidien amstellodamois Het Parool, un imam de Tilburg (sud) les a m_me qualifi_s “d’apostats”, consid_rant qu’ils sont infid_les au “vrai Islam”. Un imam de La Haye a r_dig_ une fatwa (avis religieux) autorisant tous les t_moignages contre les membres de ce groupe.

Parliament Keeps Faith With Blasphemy Law

AMSTERDAM – The Dutch parliament has rejected a bid to scrap the prohibition on blasphemy. The motion was drawn up by MP Lousewies van der Laan of the small government party D66 last week. The move was a response to an announcement by Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner that he planned to strengthen the blasphemy law. Initially Van der Laan’s motion seemed to have majority support. Only Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende’s Christian Democrats and two small religious parties opposed it.