Anti-Islam Dutch Politician Stands Trial

October 4 2010
The trial for controversial politician Geert Wilders began in Amsterdam on Monday. Wilders is accused of inciting hatred against Muslims, Moroccans and non-Western immigrants through a number of actions, including statements likening the Quran to Mein Kampf.
The opening days of the trial included controversy. Wilders’ lawyer challenged the legitimacy of the court after the judge questions the defendant’s decision to remain silent during the trial, saying “people say that you’re good at putting forward your opinion, but then avoiding debate about it. And it looks like you’re doing that again here”. A special panel called in to determine whether these comments showed sufficient bias to justify the appointment of new judges ruled that the trial will continue unchanged. The hearing continued Wednesday with a screening of Wilders’ anti-Islam film Fitna, released in 2008.
The trial comes as Wilders takes a crucial position in the newly formed national government. The minority government of Liberal VVD and Christian Democrats depends on the support of Wilders’ Freedom Party to attain a one seat majority. Ruling on the trial is expected on November 4, 2010.

Dutch party against transport to religious schools

Right wing party VVD wants to end travel allowances which enable parents to send their children to Reformed or Islamic religious schools outside of their home regions, Telegraaf reports. Parliamentarian Ineke Dezentje claims that municipalities should not be the ones paying for this transportation for religious reasons, suggesting that it comes at the expense of transporting handicapped students to schools near them.

Dutch government recruitment campaign shows veiled woman

A recruiting campaign by the Dutch government aimed at attracting young workers will picture a veiled Muslim woman with the slogan “working for the government, if you think ahead”. The image is juxtaposed with a photo of a woman with a lip piercing, alongside a series of other supposedly contrasting images including a construction site and greenery.

Questioned by the VVD regarding the meaning of the advertisement, the Ministry of Internal Affairs says that the campaign illustrates issues facing the government. “This shows that there are differences in culture of young Dutch, with which as government you have to deal with,” reports Telegraaf.

Dutch politician retracts statements critical of Islam

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.

Opposition to mosque subsidies fails

An opposition movement against the Dutch cabinet’s support for mosques has failed. The Home Affairs Ministry and Association of Netherlands Municipalities (VNG) assert that government subsidies for religious organizations are permissible on the basis that it fosters integration. The failed opposition bid was supported by the conservatives (VVD), Party for Freedom (PVV) and centre-left D66, as well as the Socialist Party who argued that the “government cannot be a little bit neutral”, and should “tackle segregation via training and work, not via subsidies to mosques”.

Rotterdam Council Criticizes Tariq Ramadan

Three opposition parties in the Rotterdam city council are calling for Tariq Ramadan’s resignation because of his collaboration with Iranian state television station Press TV. Ramadan was hired by the city in 2007 to help bridge the divide between Muslims and non-Muslims, and he lectures at Rotterdam’s Erasmus University. Ramadan has been hosting a weekly talkshow on Press TV titled ‘Islam & Life’. The conservative VVD, the local populist party Liveable Rotterdam and the Socialist Party say the local authority should stop consulting Mr Ramadan as an adviser.

Dutch minister to appoint army imam chaplain as planned

By a narrow majority, the Dutch parliament approved a controversial appointment of Moroccan-born Ali Eddaoudi as a Muslim chaplain to the Dutch army. A joint motive by the right-wing VVD party and the Christian Democrats was narrowly defeated, with 69 members of parliament voting yes, and 70 no. Eddouadi’s appointment as a Dutcy army’s chaplain stirred controversy because of comments Eddaoudi made earlier about the NATO mission in Afghanistan, and comments about general relationships between Christian and Muslims. Opponents to his appointment felt that Eddaoudi’s statements were so “hurtful” that they made it impossible for him to function in the Dutch army. The criticisms were not enough, as parliament approved his appointment as a Muslim army chaplain by just one vote.

Adults in Netherlands have Strong Opinions about Muslim Integration

Many adults in the Netherlands hold strong views on the way Muslims adapt to the European continent, according to a poll by Motivaction released by GPD. 63 per cent of respondents believe think Islam is incompatible with modern European life. In September 2004, Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders quit the liberal People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD). Wilders criticized Muslims in the Netherlands for failing to properly integrate to society, and openly opposed Turkey’s accession to the European Union (EU). In November 2004, controversial filmmaker Theo Van Gogh was murdered. Van Gogh directed a short motion picture that depicts a husband’s abuse on a Muslim woman. Death threats to Wilders and other former VVD members were left at the crime scene. On May 15, Dutch officials revealed that Somali-born VVD lawmaker Hirsi Ali provided false information when she applied for refugee status, and then when she sought citizenship. The next day, the lawmaker announced that she would leave the Second Chamber immediately. Hirsi Ali confirmed that she intends to move to the United States and work at the American Enterprise Institute. In the January 2003 election, the Christian-Democratic Appeal (CDA) elected 44 lawmakers to the 150-seat Second Chamber. CDA member Jan Peter Balkenende has acted as minister president since July 2002. In early 2003, Balkenende established his second coalition government with the VVD and Democrats 66 (D66). The next legislative ballot is tentatively scheduled for January 2007. Polling Data Do you think Islam is compatible with modern European life? Yes 37% No 63% Source: Motivaction / GPD Methodology: Interviews with 1,200 Dutch adults, conducted in May 2006. Margin of error is 3 per cent.

Dutch Minister Loses Party Leadership Vote

By TOBY STERLING AMSTERDAM, Netherlands — The Dutch immigration minister who set off a political firestorm by threatening to revoke the citizenship of a Somali-born lawmaker lost a party leadership contest Wednesday seen as a referendum on the country’s tough immigration policies. The hardline minister Rita Verdonk caused the political downfall of lawmaker Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the country’s most outspoken critic of fundamentalist Islam. Hirsi Ali became internationally known when Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh was murdered in November 2004 by a Muslim radical incensed by the short film “Submission,” a critique of the treatment of women under Islam which she wrote the script for. Verdonk was the front-runner in the contest to lead the free-market VVD party into elections next year until she threatened earlier this month to revoke Hirsi Ali’s passport. Hirsi Ali — also a member of the VVD — quit after Verdonk said her naturalization was invalid because she gave a false name when she moved to the Netherlands in 1992. Hirsi Ali, 36, has acknowledged her real name was Ayaan Hirsi Magan, and said she fabricated her name because she feared reprisals from her family after fleeing an arranged marriage. Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende conceded Wednesday that her resignation had damaged the Netherlands’ reputation as a haven of tolerance. “Everything that’s happened has brought negative publicity,” Balkenende said at a lunch with the Dutch foreign press association. “I read the international papers too, but the question is, will it have a lasting effect? I believe not.” Verdonk was defeated by the more moderate Mark Rutte in the party primary. She retains her cabinet post. Rutte won 51 percent of votes, while Verdonk got 46 percent, the party said. Many prominent members of the VVD, including EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes, shifted their support from Verdonk to Rutte after the Hirsi Ali affair. A former deputy prison warden, Verdonk built her reputation as a strict enforcer of the country’s immigration policies, among the toughest in Europe. Since taking office in 2003, Verdonk has ordered citizenship classes and tests for immigrants, raised visa fees by hundreds of dollars and began imprisoning rejected asylum-seekers before deporting them. As a result, immigration is half what it was in 2000. Verdonk, 50, had in the past benefited in the polls from decisions similar to the one on Hirsi Ali. She denied citizenship to an Ivory Coast-born soccer player Salomon Kalou, and deporting a young refugee from Kosovo just a month before she was due to graduate from Dutch high school. But after Hirsi Ali’s resignation, Verdonk was skewered in a 10-hour emergency debate in parliament, in which she was criticized by all sides for acting too hastily. Verdonk was forced to review Hirsi Ali’s case, and agree to reprocess her naturalization under her true name if necessary. Hirsi Ali continues to live in her apartment in The Hague under police protection because of threats to her life from radicals. She is unable to speak in public while her immigration case is under review and plans to move to the United States to join The American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank. Rutte, 39, will now stand in national elections next May, with an outside chance of becoming prime minister as leader of the country’s third-largest party.

Verdonk Zet Drie Imams Het Land Uit Van Onze Redactie Politiek

THE HAGUE – Three radical imams from Al-Fourkaan Mosque in Eindhoven have been declared undesirable aliens. Minister Verdonk van Vreemdelingenzaken wants them to leave the country because they incite hatred and permit jihadists to operate in their mosque. It has not been determined whether more imams will be declared undesirable. The General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD) has been watching ten radical mosques. Just like in the Al-Fourkaan mosque the ideology of Salafism is promoted, a strict movement in Islam that fights against Western society. Verdonk decided yesterday after consultation with minister Remkes (home affairs) to withdraw the residence permits of the two imams. They have rejected the application for lengthening of the permit of a third imam. The imams will be declared undesirable aliens, because they pose a danger to public safety and/or national security. {(continued below in Dutch)} Volgens de Algemene Inlichtingen- en Veiligheidsdienst (AIVD) laten de imams duidelijk hun afkeuring blijken over de westerse samenleving en dragen ze bij aan de radicalisering van moslims in Nederland. Daarmee zetten ze moslims ertoe aan om zich van de Nederlandse samenleving te isoleren. Een van de imams is afkomstig uit Bosni_, een ander uit Kenia en de derde persoon zou uit Egypte komen. De Tweede-Kamerfracties van VVD, CDA, en LPF zijn opgetogen over het ongewenst verklaren van de imams. ,,Dit is goed nieuws, hier zaten we na 2 november (de moord op Theo van Gogh, red.), op te wachten”, aldus LPF-Kamerlid Joost Eerdmans. ,,Dit is uitstekend”, reageert CDA’er Van Fessem. ,,Eindelijk laat het kabinet zijn tanden zien”, stelt VVD-woordvoerster Griffith. Burgemeester A. Sakkers is ,,verrast” door het voornemen van Verdonk. Tot nu toe heeft hij geen enkel signaal van mogelijk gevaar ontvangen. ,,De uitzetting en afwijzing moeten op stevige feiten berusten, wil de minister voor deze maatregel kiezen”, aldus Sakkers. ,,Kloppen de feiten inderdaad, dan is het in het belang van de moskeegemeenschap in Eindhoven dat deze maatregel genomen wordt.’