20 May 2013
Claim by newspaper Trouw that part of The Hague’s Schilderswijk district is so dominated by orthodox Muslims that they are dictating what people should wear and how they should behave, have been denied by both police and local politicians.
Under the headline ‘Hague district is orthodox Muslim territory’, Trouw said ‘short skirts and dresses are not accepted on the street’. The paper said the area, with a population of some 5,000, is known by locals as ‘The Sharia Triangle’. ‘Very slowly, the rules in the area are beginning to change,’ the article said. ‘The norms of the majority are beginning to take over.’
But locals were quick to describe the article as exaggerated. ‘We know the area is dominated by Muslims, yes,’ said local Christian Democrat leader Gert-Jan Bakker. ‘But we have never noticed that they are in control.’ Local police chief Michel de Roos told broadcaster Omroep West claims by Trouw that the police allow locals to solve their own problems is not true. The police presence in the area has been strengthened and local beat officers have a strong local network, he said.
Social affairs minister Lodewijk Asscher and MP and anti-Islam campaigner Geert Wilders both paid visits to the district. Wilders spent 15 minutes walking through the area and did not speak to any locals, RTL news reported. ‘This is a part of the Netherlands where our norms and standards apply,’ Wilders told reporters during his stroll.
Popular Belgian weather reporter, Luc Trellemans, of the national broadcaster RTL Belgium publically apologized to the country’s Muslim community after having expressed Islamophobic views on his Facebook page.
The reporter accused Muslims of ‘mocking our (Belgian) customs’ on his Facebook wall and was met, as a result, with a torrent of outrage in social media circles. His public apology was followed by a public message of the broadcaster RTL, distancing itself from the comments and announcing the immediate suspension of the weather reporter.
27 April 2013
The plan by the ruling coalition of the Dutch government to make it a criminal offence to be an illegal immigrant is causing divisions within the ruling Labour (PvdA) party. The Labour party had agreed with the Liberal (VVD) party to criminalize illegal immigration as part of last year’s coalition agreement. At this weekend’s party congress Labour party members voted in large majority for a motion condemning the proposed legislation.
In December, RTL news reported that illegal immigrants would face a fine and eventual deportation when legislation criminalizing illegality came into effect.
1 March 2013
Anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders is listed in an apparent al-Qaeda death list, RTL news reports. The politician is listed fourth on a pastiche poster published online. A spokesman for the Dutch counter terrorism bureau noted that circulation of death lists is a popular al Qaeda tactic. Other names listed included Danish newspaper editor Carsten Juste and Dutch public figure Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
News Agencies – April 27, 2012
France’s socialist presidential candidate Francois Hollande says that, if elected, he won’t seek to overturn a law banning face-covering Muslim veils enacted by President Nicolas Sarkozy’s conservatives. Francois Hollande, who leads Sarkozy in all polls, and most other Socialists abstained from the 2010 vote in the National Assembly to ban mesh-screen burqas and niqabs. On RTL radio, Hollande said he would keep the ban, but “have it applied in the best way.” He did not elaborate.
News Agencies – February 28, 2011
French Prime Minister François Fillon is opposed to a proposed debate about the place of Islam in France, if it would lead to the stigmatisation of Muslims. “If this debate must be focused on Islam and if it seems to lead to the stigmatisation of Muslims, I oppose it. I say it clearly: I oppose it,” Fillon told French radio station RTL.
The president of the ruling UMP party, Jean-François Copé, recently announced plans to launch a debate about religion, “especially Islam”.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy declared on 10 February that multiculturalism was a failure in France. He called for “an Islam of France and not an Islam in France”.
11 August 2010
The private German TV station RTL 2, usually providing mass
entertainment, announces the times of sunrise and sunset during the
month of Ramadan. Hosting shows like Big Brother and small-scale
Hollywood movies, the station’s slogan is “It’s fun”. Unexpectedly, the
marketing directors have now decided to “send out a signal” for
integration and to mark the fasting periods. The unprecedented move was
welcomed by the Central Council of Muslims.
Boubakeur el Hakim, 24, is on trial this month in Paris accused with four other young Frenchmen of funneling French Muslim fighters to Iraq. The case is a delicate one, as France is largely strongly opposed to the U.S.-led campaign in Iraq, but also struggles against homegrown terrorism. In a French radio interview on RTL radio broadcast from Baghdad in 2003, el Hakim urged Parisian friends to join him on the battlefield. The key concern for the French police has been what these fighters do when they return to France. The fighters claimed to have first traveled to Syria to take Arabic lessons and receive basic weapon training prior to arrival in Iraq.