Source: Yahoo News
Wire Service: AP
A harassed gay minority in a conservative suburb in otherwise tolerant Amsterdam has found a guardian angel in the local Muslim mayor.
Ahmed Marcouch, 41, is on a self-appointed mission to end homophobia in Slotervaart, just a stones' throw from the capital but light-years away from its anything-goes mentality.
To make his point, Mayor Marcouch recently invited Amsterdam's annual Gay Pride parade to pass through his constituency when it takes place in August.
"It is necessary to confront this issue, to say that homosexuals are normal people like all of us and that we require them to be respected," Marcouch told AFP.
Slotervaart's population is mainly of immigrant origin, many of the Muslim faith, like Moroccan-born Marcouch himself who came to the Netherlands in 1979 at age 10. The suburb has recently been in the news for homophobic incidents, with gays being called names, spat on and generally bothered.