News Agencies – June 12, 2012
A police union says three Saudi women who refused to remove their face veils at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport have been barred entry to France. An official with the SGP-FO police union said that border police asked the women to remove their veils after they arrived Monday on a flight from Doha, Qatar. The official says the women refused, border police refused them entry in France, and they returned to Doha. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly for the police.
Following the Swiss referendum to ban minarets, a motion in the Dutch parliament called for more “discretion” over the placement of visible satellite dishes, the visibility of urban mosques, and the sound of calls to prayer. The motion was subsequently rejected by most MPs.
The motion was initially tabled by the fundamentalist Christian SGP party, which holds two seats in parliament. It was supported by the Freedom party (PVV) and Rita Verdonk of the VVD. Proponents said the motion would address a feeling of “alienation and unease” among native Dutch people.
The majority of parliamentarians rejected the motion, as well as expressing their doubts over the Swiss minaret ban. Foreign minister Maxine Verhagen suggested that the ban probably conflicts with the right to freedom of religion and therefore breaches international treaties on human rights. Home affairs minister Guusje ter Horst described the Swiss referendum outcome as “very regrettable”.
The leader of the small Christian SGP party in the Netherlands, E. Klein, has taken back critical statements on Islam made during a meeting on freedom of education.
Klein declared that he would rather see no mosques, and that “Islam has produced nothing good so far”. Under pressure from local conservative (VVD) and center-left (D66) parties Klein has retracted the statement, announcing during a meeting of the provincial council that he “wholeheartedly takes back” his words.
Muslim police agents at the Central Holland police corps now have option to take a Muslim oath when joining the corps. Previously, police agents had two options for taking their oaths: “so help me God” and “I state and promise.” As of a few years ago, Muslims at the Corps could declare, with their right hand on the Quran, “in the name of Allah, the merciful, and he is my witness that I promise this.” Several have been surprised by this, including SGP parliament member Van der Staaij and International Affairs minister Ter Horst, who said that the practice must stop. However, a spokesperson for the Central Holland police corps has defended the Muslim oath variant.
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Reformatorisch Dagblad (Dutch)