Officials recommend the Netherlands scrap anti-blasphemy law

An anti-blasphemy law in the Netherlands which dates back to the 1930s, is being called outdated and a law of favoritism, and officials are recommending that it be replaced by an anti-discrimination law instead. Officials from several Dutch parties argued that the anti-blasphemy law offers unfair protection for religious groups, but that an anti-discrimination law would protect all groups evenly. In scrapping the anti-blasphemy law, the cabinet is now making moves to strengthen anti-discrimination laws against all backgrounds, and taking the religious component out of being implicit in the equation.

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United Press International

Radio Netherlands

Moroccan-born politician becomes first-ever Muslim mayor in Holland

Social Affairs State Secretary Ahmed Aboutaleb will succeed Ivo Opstelten as the mayor of Rotterdam, the second largest city in the Netherlands. Aboutaleb is a member of the Labour party, and has been nominated by the local council to seat the position. He has both Moroccan and Dutch nationality, and is known for combining his Muslim faith with a political style that is characteristically Dutch. The appointment, of the first Muslim nominated for a mayoral position, still needs to be formally confirmed by the home affairs ministry.

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NIS News

Muslim News

Radio Netherlands

Radio Netherlands

Hunger Striking Illegal Immigrants in Belgium in Critical Condition

Eighty asylum-seekers in Brussels are nearing death after going for eighty days without food. The hunger strikers are protesting the government’s refusal to grand them resident permits in the country. The asylum-seekers come from a variety of places – Nepal, the Ivory Coast, Congo, Iran, Algeria, Guinea, and Brazil, and whose applications have either been rejected, or remain pending. 70 immigrants on hunger strikes agreed to abandon their dangerous measures pending a deal from the Alien Registration Office. The deal would allow the individuals to recuperate from the ordeal with a 90-day visa. However, clear guidelines have not been set, prompting many refugee and religious organizations to pressure the government to come up with a program concerning allowing illegal aliens to reside in the country.

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Spiegel

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Spain acquits 14 accused Islamists

The Spanish Supreme Court overturned convictions against 15 of the 20 men accused of forming an Islamist group plotting to blow up Madrid’s High Court. The ruling found “non-existent the crime of conspiracy to commit a deadly terrorist attack.” Convictions for five of the men were upheld. Thirty suspects were originally arrested four years ago, most of whom were from Algeria and Morocco.

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Expatica

Dutch anti-Muslim film brings call for PR

Feared fallout from a new film critical of Islam has one Dutch lawmaker calling for a pre-emptive public-relations campaign by all of Europe. Alexander Pechtold, a member of the Netherlands parliament, said Monday that Europe must publicly explain the values of freedom of expression and democracy in order to prevent a backlash to the film produced by right-wing lawmaker Geert Wilders. Here we are accustomed to democracy and freedom of expression but not everyone abroad is, Pechtold told Radio Netherlands.