Public schools in Amsterdam’s Slotervaart district will not offer Islam classes, Telegraaf reports. The classes were requested a year ago by district mayor Ahmed Marouch, who hoped that offering the classes outside the regular school-day would offer parents an alternative to religious education in the mosques. Currently, in-school Islamic classes are offered to children in Rotterdam and Lelystad. While the education is possible if parents request the classes, it is unclear whether a lack of demand for the classes stems from lack of awareness among parents or a disinterest in the classes themselves.
Two members of the Netherlands’ PvDA in Slotervaart are opposing the plans of mayor Ahmed Marcouch to make homosexuality a discussable topic in Islamic circles. According to Marcouch, the position of gays is an issue which strongly moves the ‘ethnic supporters’ of politicians in Slotervaart.
Miloud Bouzrou and Hassan Kattouss oppose the policy on the grounds that it stigmatizes the Muslim community. Says Kattouss, “We’re against the memo because Mr. Marcouch uses Muslims and Moroccans as an argument to stress the necessity of his gay policy. It’s simply not true that Moroccans and Muslims are intolerant towards gays. You should not accuse that Muslim community of something that it’s not.” Marcouch, the local PvdA leader, expects the fraction leader to have a harsh, reproving talk with the two.
The mayor of the Amsterdam neighborhood Slotervaart, Ahmed Marcouch, has said that public schools ought to offer more space for religion, particularly Islam. According to Marouch, this would take some of the burden and responsibility off of the mosque, by allowing for a more open and public practice of religion for Muslim children and young people. Marcouch also wants creationism to be taught alongside evolution. According to him, public schools should also be more respectful of Muslim customs and holidays, and allow for space where children do not have to constantly justify headscarves, and gender segregated activities like swimming. The ultimate goal, said Mr. Marcouch, is to hope that a Muslim child can enter a public school without feeling like he has to renounce his religion.