Dutch MPs Call to Ban Imam for Stance on Child Marriage

6 December 2011

Dutch parliamentarians are calling for a ban on an imam who supports a young marriage age for girls. Mohamed al- Maghraoui , who is due to attend a conference later this month in the Hague, published a fatwa in Morocco (2008) accepting nine as a marriageable age for girls. Members from the Dutch Labor (PvdA) and Liberal (VVD) Parties have requested that the controversial imam not receive a visa. Muslim MP Tofik Dibi of the Green Left party supported the visit as an opportunity for free-thinking Muslims to “break through this sort of man’s position of power”. He noted further that it was “encouraging to see how many Muslim-Dutch people are giving this man the cold shoulder”.

Project Surveys Dutch Women About Headscarves

18 November 2011

A large scale project in the Netherlands, entitled Hoofdboek, aims to provide an overview of the lives of Dutch Muslim women wearing the headscarves. The project will involve a book, survey, traveling exhibition and social media platform. The National Headscarf Survey component of the project has been conducted by Motivaction and interviewed some 1570 participants, both Muslim and non-Muslim Dutch women. The results, presented in Hoofdboek, indicate that 60% of Dutch Muslim women elect to wear a headscarf for reasons ranging from its reflection of the wearer’s identity to fashion; women begin wearing the headscarf at an average age of 19. Close to 75% of those not wearing a headscarf said they might do so in the future. In terms of fashion, the average woman has a wardrobe of 34 scarves, and style is an increasing consideration in their selection. Respondent said they would like to see high profile Dutch women including Queen Beatrix, Yolanthe Sneijder-Cabeau or, most popularly, Princess Maxima, wear a headscarf once.

Ramadan Celebrations Changing in Netherlands

August 7 2010

Trouw reports that the way Muslims in the Netherlands celebrate Ramadan is changing, according to social scientists at the University of Amsterdam and the VU University in Amsterdam. Rituals which were previously internal to the community have come to adapt to the Dutch environment and engage the non-Muslim Dutch.This shift, according to Professor Gerard Wiegers of the University of Amsterdam, is “part of a process of institutionalizing Islam in a Dutch, secular environment”.

Dutch officials visit Dearborn, Michigan to learn about improving Muslim relations

Dutch officials visited the Dearborn area this week to discern why Muslims are more accepted in the United States than in the Netherlands. Dutch Cabinet Minister Francis Timmermans and an entourage of officials met with 35 local Muslim, Jewish, and Christian leaders at the Islamic Center of America. We are good at allowing people to make their own choices,” said Timmermans, the European minister of The Netherlands, reflecting on the long tolerance for multiple Christian denominations in his country. “But were we good at dialogue? This world needs dialogue.”

Timmermans stated that there has been an ideological shift in the way that Muslim-Dutch issues are viewed in Dutch society, and that this shift changed after the attacks on September 11th, 2001. Before this, problems of integration of immigrants were often described as issued related to youth and young people, but “since 9/11, all of these people have simply become Muslims. This is simply, probably a knee-jerk reaction to fear in the society. The Dutch officials spent an entire day engaging with representatives from the Dearborn community, to examine ways in which social and religious tensions, and difficulties sometimes caused by “free speech,” are dealt with differently in the United States.