Of Muslims, Movies, Mosques Mecca, the Koran, and Schools

September 15, 2007

Author: Staff Writer

Source: New Europe


The integration into Dutch society of growing numbers of Muslims has created a cauldron of debate pitting critics of fundamentalist Islam against legislators, educators and supporters of religious tolerance, calls to ban the Koran, a gay movie, and taboos in the Muslim community. Dutch legislators argued face-to-face over a call by the liberal-rightist Freedom Party (PVV) to ban the Koran in the Netherlands, which was rejected, although PVV party leader Geert Wilders got tougher measures against radical Islam. The VVD party asked the government to enact new legislation enabling the Dutch authorities to deport Muslim spiritual leaders if convicted of inciting people to violence. The VVD party also said it wanted legal options to close mosques known to be hotbeds of radicalism. Justice Minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin of the Christian Democratic Party (CDA) replied that closing radical mosques was already legally possible. The minister added he was preparing a bill that would prohibit spiritual leaders from working in their profession once they had been convicted of inciting people to hatred and violence. That came as former Muslims from several European countries went to The Hague on September 11 to sign a European Declaration of Tolerance on the sixth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States.