Dutch Vice Prime Minister Lodewijk Ascher: Muslims belong in the Netherlands

Lodewijk-Asscher
“They [the Muslims, ed.] deserve our support.”
The Dutch Vice Prime Minister Lodewijk Asscher has recently defended Muslims in the Netherlands on the party congress of his Labour Party (Partij van de arbeid). In the same meeting he lashed out against the Dutch Islamic critic and anti-Islamic Freedom Party (Partij voor de Vrijheid) leader Geert Wilders.

Asscher stated that the justified anger about the attacks [in France, ed.] should be directed at the perpetrators, the accomplices, the recruiters, and those who have inspired terrorism. But the same anger should not be quenched by directing it at the cashier at the Albert Heijn [a widespread Dutch super market, ed.], the neighbor, or the mosque around the corner, Asscher said. “They [the Muslims, ed.] deserve our support.”

Additionally Asscher said that he admires Wilders because he continues to voice his opinions despite ongoing threats to his person. But Asscher also “rejects and despises” Wilders’ views and will do anything to combat them in the public debate.

“Wilders doesn’t see people, he only sees suspects,” Asscher said. “He poures out Quranic texts but repudiates the Dutch constitution. The PVV [Freedom Party, ed.] does not deserve its self chosen name. Let us be the party of freedom. Of elevation and emancipation. Of enlightenment and bonding.” Asscher stated on the Labour Party congres.

New Political Party Established by Dutch Muslims

Two former Dutch Labour Party (Partij van de Arbeid) members – Tunahan Kuzu and Selçuk Öztürk – have established a new political party called “Denk” (English: Think). The two parliamentary members left the Labour Party after a conflict about the integration policies of the party.

Kuzu says in an interview with the Dutch news paper Het Parool: “We’re implementing an integration policy in this country while it has only resulted in the fact that we are further apart then ever.” Öztürk: “The Labour Party has a Minister of Integration, we want a Minister of Acceptation.” Kuzu again: “In the Netherlands there are many more people who should accept integrated people than there are people who are supposed to integrate.”

Open the link below to read the whole interview (in Dutch):

http://www.parool.nl/parool/nl/224/BINNENLAND/article/detail/3847611/2015/02/09/Ex-PvdA-ers-komen-met-nieuwe-partij-in-een-naar-Geert-Wilders-gevormde-wereld.dhtml

Prominent Dutch academic critiques minister’s plans to ban “sharia parties”

A majority of parties in the Dutch House of Representatives have agreed on the desirability of a ban for political parties based on the Islamic sharia law. A bill that suggested so was put forward by the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) and supported by the two parties currently in the government, the Labour Party (PvdA) and the Peoples Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD). It was also supported by the Christian Union (CU) and the Political Reformed Party (SGP). The Minister of Social Affairs Lodewijk Asscher has expressed his willingness to investigate possibilities within Dutch law that would support such a ban.

The bill has been criticized by emeritus professor of integration and migration studies Han Entzinger. He posed that it is unclear what Muslims mean by sharia and that many diverse interpretations of it exist. He suggested that some interpretations of sharia might contain aspects that are in conflict with democracy. Alluding to the ban on extreme right parties such as the Centre Party ‘ 86 (CP ’86) in the nineties he suggested that it might in fact be possible to ban parties with an undemocratic character.

Entzinger suggested however that it remains questionable if such a threat is really at hand. He maintains that the majority of Dutch Muslims are not proponents of the implementation of Islamic sharia law in the Netherlands. He fears that the current discussion on a ban will unnecessarily enhance the already existing polarization in Dutch society, thus enhancing stigmatization of Muslims and xenophobia amongst Dutch natives. Entzinger also suggested that since such political parties are currently not in existence in the Netherlands the whole discussion could be seen as an example of “symboolpolitiek” (politics based on symbolism) as a prelude to the Dutch elections.

SCP-research: Low Rate of Acceptance Homosexuality Among Conservative Believers [PDF Download]

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.

[Click Here to Download Full Report]

 

 

 

Turkish PvdA Members of Rotterdam District Council Resign

July 3 2013

 

The management board of the Rotterdam district council Feijenoord has resigned, following a report on the activities of Labour Party (PvdA) members of Turkish descent.

 

Turkish members of the district Labour Party leadership have allegedly participated in nepotism favoring Turkish residents and organizations, according to the Bureau for the Integrity of Netherlands Municipalities (BING). BING also names Seyit Yeyden, chairman of the Feijenoord executive, and two unnamed council members, as guilty of conflict of interest. The board announced its resignation in a letter to the district council.

Dutch Labour Party Disagrees on Plan to Criminalize Illegal Immigrants

27 April 2013

 

The plan by the ruling coalition of the Dutch government to make it a criminal offence to be an illegal immigrant is causing divisions within the ruling Labour (PvdA) party. The Labour party had agreed with the Liberal (VVD) party to criminalize illegal immigration as part of last year’s coalition agreement. At this weekend’s party congress Labour party members voted in large majority for a motion condemning the proposed legislation.

In December, RTL news reported that illegal immigrants would face a fine and eventual deportation when legislation criminalizing illegality came into effect.

Labour peer Lord Ahmed suspended over claims he blamed imprisonment on ‘Jewish conspiracy’

The story today is that the labour party has suspended one of its members in light of comments made in a Pakistani television interview. The peer was suspended after he appeared to blame a Jewish conspiracy for his imprisonment for dangerous driving. The leader of the Labour Party Ed Milliband responded as follows: “There’s no place for anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, and frankly anybody who makes those kinds of comments cannot be either a Labour lord or a Labour Member of Parliament”. With the relations between Islam and Judaism tense as it is, the labour peer is reported to have said in the TV broadcast: “My case became more critical because I went to Gaza to support Palestinians. My Jewish friends who own newspapers and TV channels opposed this.”

29-year-old Muslim woman named culture minister of Norway

The first ever Muslim minister in the Norwegian Cabinet is Hadia Tajik of Pakistani origin, who was handed the culture portfolio

On Sunday, with no precedent in Norwegian history, Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg appointed Hadia Tajik, a 29-year-old Muslim woman, as minister of culture, making Tajik the youngest minister in the Norwegian Cabinet and the first ever Muslim in the Norwegian government.

Tajik, of Pakistani origin, anounced that her programme will focus on cultural diversity as part of the Norwegian people’s daily lives and how this reflects on Norweigan society as a whole. The programme will delve into the protection of minority rights, whether cultural or racial, including the right of Muslims to wear the veil in public places, among other issues.

The new focus, however, will not be unopposed. Most right wing groups are against these policy changes, considering the increase in diversity in society a challenge to European culture.

Last year Anders Breivik randomly shot 69 people at a summer camp organised by the Workers’ Youth League (AUF) of the Labour Party after blowing up a Norweigan state building. During his trial, Breivik reasoned that multi-cultural policies are harming Norway, adding that he considers Islam his enemy.

Born in Strand, Norway, on 18 July 1983, Tajik studied human rights at the University of Kingston in the UK and holds a Bachelor’s degree in journalism and Master’s in law, the latter awarded by the University of Oslo this year.

An activist from a young age, Tajik led the Young Workers Movement between 1999 and 2002. She also worked as a political advisor to Norway’s minister of justice, 2008-2009. During this time Norweigan women members of the police were afforded the right to wear the veil at work. The decision was, however, rescinded due to harsh criticism from conservative parties.

In 2009, Tajik was elected to parliament as a member of the Labour Party in the Oslo constitutency. She was placed on a list of six seats generally considered safe for the party.

The historic defeat that Labour Party suffered in the Bradford by-election forces them to understand the changing dynamics of the Muslim society

11 June 2012

Britain is still appalled with George Galloway’s unexpected victory over the Labour party in the Bradford by-election. The Labour party’s reliance on the biraderi system according to which gaining support of the tribal leaders would secure the support of the rest of the community cost a humiliating defeat in the by-election. Further, the by-election has also shown that the old system is outdated and elders alliances no longer binding for the youth and women.

In her article, Irna Qureshi reflects upon Labour leader Ed Miliband’s visit to Bradford in a quest to understand what went wrong in the by-elections and re-establish relations with the different sectors of the Muslim community instead of only interacting with the elders. She also points out how the dynamics of the Muslim community have changed and women are becoming increasingly active in the decision making process.

George Galloway Wins Bradford

March 2012

 

Bradford, which is host to a large Asian community, has been a Labour Party stronghold for 100 years. However, in the Bradford West by-election George Galloway, the outspoken British politician, gained a landslide victory against Labour’s Pakistani Muslim candidate Imran Hussain, thanks to the unwavering support of the Asian Muslim community.

 

The results were received as a blow to labour leader Ed Miliband who had been expected to capitalize on the double dip resection that hit hard on the UK economy. The results were also bad news for Tories as their vote went significantly down. Thus, it was considered to be a sign of dissatisfaction with the mainstream parties and, by some Islamphobic media, considered a source concern since they understood it as ‘Islamic extremism’ inauguration in British politics.

 

Galloway built his election strategy upon two issues: Occupation of Afghanistan, Palestine and the austerity policies, and called his victory a “Bradford Spring,” thus making a comparison to the popular uprisings taking place in Arab countries. He might seem to be going too far by comparing a Liberal democratic Britain to the oppressive dictatorial regimes of the Middle East, yet there might be some similarities between the two. Increasing unemployment, cost of living and discrimination have indeed frustrated the large working class Asian community of Bradford, especially the youth who have had to face uncertainty and alienation.

 

The following articles show how the British public and political parties who were appalled by the results try to understand what was behind the support of Galloway by the Muslim Asian community.