15 November 2011
The ruling Liberal Party (VVD) of the Netherlands has requested that its home affairs minister stop granting funds to initiatives which ‘get in the way of integration’, such as organizations which offer separate swimming lessons for women. Single-sex activities, organizations which “oppose homosexual rights” or whose “activities conflict with democracy” should no longer receive support, according to VVD MP Cora van Nieuwenhuizen. According to van Nieuwenhuizen, for instance, a refugee center with a separate computer room for women should not be funded as it sends out “conflicting messages about Dutch society.”
Thursday February 4th a public school in Copenhagen held a parents’ meeting on bullying. Fathers were excluded from the meeting in an attempt to get more Muslim mothers to attend the meeting, who show low participation in parent meetings, according to a school leader.
The mothers-only meeting is dividing politicians across the political spectrum. The right-wing Danish People’s Party demands the leader of the school be fired while MP’s from the left-wing Socialist People’s Party and the center-situated Danish Social-Liberal Party says gender separated meetings can be a good tool sometimes. The well respected integration consultant in Copenhagen, Manu Sareen, who is a member of the Danish Social-Liberal Party, says gender separated meetings and events aren’t anything new in Denmark. In the 1970’s a lot of women participated in women-only camps and meetings and Sareen has with big success arranged male-only meetings on gender equality for men with another ethnic background than Danish.
Religion sociologist at University of Aarhus, René Dybdal, says that Denmark traditionally has been characterized by a very high tolerance towards other religions’ traditions and practices but since the Muhammad cartoon crisis the debate in Denmark has been very sensitive when it comes to Muslim practices and traditions.
The Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, Michael Ignatieff, spoke to the large gathering of Muslims on Sunday, September 20, 2009, at the CNE Direct Energy Centre in Toronto and extended Eid greetings on behalf of his party: “As you gather with your family and friends to mark the end of Ramadan, please accept my warmest wishes for a joyful holiday.”
The Swedish government is to set up an inquiry to look into the possibility of using state funds to help provide training for imams. According to Lars Leijonborg, the Minister for Higher Education and Research, Muslim representatives should be able to benefit from Swedish tax kronor in the same way that Christian priests and ministers do. Former Liberal Party leader Svenska Dagbladet also believes that the move will help curb the development of radical Islam by providing alternatives to Wahhabi and Saudi Arabia training of imams.