A robber in the Dutch town of Hoofddorp used a Moroccan accent in order to mislead police and hide his identity. The 16 year old committed multiple robberies including a gas station, video library, tanning salon and hotels, causing considerable unrest in the town. He has been sentenced to a year of youth detention.
Radio Netherlands Worldwide published a profile of the increasing number of Islamic academics in Dutch universities. While Muslim youth remain negatively portrayed in the press, the number of Muslim students and Islamic organizations in Dutch universities is growing rapidly. The Free University of Amsterdam has 2000 Muslim students, ten percent of the student body. Islamic students organizations such as MashriQ are made up of Muslim students from a diverse range of ethnic backgrounds, including Somalia, Morocco, Egypt, Pakistan, Turkey, Indonesia, etc.
During a visit to America, Dutch Justice Minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin met with Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano to discuss the ways the Netherlands deals with ‘local terrorists’, such as Mohammed Bouyeri. Trouw reports that the American were particularly interested in the ways national security services in the Netherlands work.
Quick 1888, an amateur football club in the town of Nijmegen is taking steps to cap the number of ethnic minority players on the team. Those supporting the cap claim white players do not feel at home and that minority parents do not provide sufficient volunteer support for the club. The club wants to reduce the number of minority players to 50%, down from a current 80% of players who have an ethnic minority background. Provincial parliamentarian Toine van Bergen stated that he feels the club’s subsidies should be suspended if they carry through with the cap.
The Amsterdam district court has set the date for anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders’ trial for October, after initially scheduling it for June. According to the court, the change is a result of scheduling problems, as the court requires five days to hear evidence in the case. Preliminary schedules mark October 4, 6 and 8 for the trial, followed by a judgment on November 2. The leader of the Freedom Party (PVV) is accused of five counts of religious insult and anti- Muslim incitement.
Ayaan Hirsri Ali, the former Dutch politician born in Somalia, has received a free speech award from Jyllands-Posten, the Danish newspaper which published cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in 2005. The paper named Hirsi Ali, well known for writing Theo Van Gogh’s film “Submission”, as winner of its Prize for Freedom of Expression. She is now lives in the United States
A recent study has found that due to the ethnic and religious diversity of Dutch Muslim groups, the existence of an official legal institute for all Muslims in the Netherlands is not possible, and no Sharia courts currently exist in the country.
The study was conducted by Radbound University Nijmegen for the Ministry of Justice and sent by the ministers of Justice and Integration to Dutch parliament. It notes that while practices of counseling and conflict-arbitration on the basis of Sharia exist in the Netherlands, it does not take the form of settling disputes. Rather, Muslims ask among peers or scholars for advice about issues in which Islamic concepts and life in Dutch society offer choices. The cabinet response admits that the study alleviates concern about the existence of Sharia courts, while restating its position ensuring that there will be no parallel legal orders in the country.
The Netherlands’ anti-Islam Freedom Party (PVV) faced embarrassment this week after learning that a prospective MP nominated by the party has defended a radical imam. Lilian Heider defended imam Imraan Kariman in 2007 for an inflammatory speech leading to a ban on his public speaking. Geert Wilders, leader of the PVV, called at the time of the speech case for the Imam to be deported.
A woman whose headscarf became entangled in a go-kart is suing the Linnaeushof playground in Bennebroek, the Netherlands. The woman visited the playground in 2007 on an outing of an Islamic association, and claims that the Linnaeushof’s insufficient safety measures and supervision led to the accident and injury, for which she was taken to the hospital.
During the Kutlu Dogum Haftasi (blessed birth week), 30,000 Turkish Dutch gathered to celebrate the Prophet’s birthday. During this week, Mohammad is commemorated by Koran recitation and singing religious songs. The event is held annually in a different European city: this year’s celebration took place at the Arena in Amsterdam.