The big news in Holland this week is the expulsion of controversial former minister of Immigration and Integration, Rita Verdonk, from the rightwing liberal party VVD, in which she had been the number two politician.
For the backstory, see:
VVD in crisis after dismissing Verdonk.
Verdonk, who acquired the nickname "Iron Rita" for her hardline immigration and asylum policies in the two previous governments, is reserving the right to stay in Parliament as independent MP and possibly establishing her own party - and polls accord her anything between 12% and 18% of the vote if she would.
Note: that would be 12-18% on top of the numbers for Geert Wilders' anti-immigrant Party. His Freedom Party would in that scenario be left with another 5-7% -- making for a cumulative 19-23% for the anti-immigrant right.
Situation in Slotervaart might escalate
Every day Amsterdam police chief Bernard Welten is aware of the fact that the situation in Slotervaart can escalate and riots like we saw in Paris last year could break out, he has said. There has been unrest in the district since the 22-year-old Bilal B. was shot and killed at a police station by a police officer after he stabbed two officers. Youths set fire to cars and threw stones at the police station and a media van. Welten blames a hard core of some 35 teenage troublemakers.
* Suicide by cop
The other story making all of the papers again is Sunday's stabbing in Amsterdam's Slotervaart neighbourhood. More information has emerged about the man who walked into the Slotervaart police station and stabbed two officers before being shot dead. "Culprit known to police" headlines Trouw while AD writes, "Bilal B. connected to terrorist group".
Trouw writes that he was part of a group of mostly Moroccan youths that hung around in the neighbourhood and came into regular contact with the police. He had been convicted for theft and grievous bodily harm but also suffered from schizophrenia and had spent some time in a psychiatric clinic.
He was discharged in August but checked himself in again on Friday saying he felt suicidal. He was out on a supervised walk on Sunday but managed to abscond and made his way to the police station. Trouw writes he committed 'suicide by cop', a phenomenon more common in United States.
De Volkskrant writes that he had contact with the Hofstad group, a group of radical Dutch Moslems that includes Mohamed Bouyeri, who murdered filmmaker Theo van Gogh, and Samir Azzouz, who was recently convicted of planning terrorist attacks in the Netherlands. The paper quotes a Hofstad group source as saying," we only had fleeting contact with Bilal, are they trying give him a bad name, or make it less horrible that they shot him dead?"
Sarkozy praises French Muslims
Mon 1 Oct 2007
French President Nicolas Sarkozy praised the country's Muslim minority on Monday as peaceful and tolerant, adding that any extremists who wanted to upset this calm would be expelled from France.
He spoke at an iftar dinner breaking the Ramadan fast at the Grand Mosque of Paris, whose moderate rector Dalil Boubakeur is head of the French Muslim Council (CFCM) that Sarkozy created in 2003 when he was interior minister.
"Thanks to you, our country has not seen any increase in tensions in relations between Muslims and non-Muslims," the president told Boubakeur and other CFCM leaders.
"Many envy us for this peaceful situation. Some extremists want to end it," he said. France's five-million-strong Muslim minority is the largest in Europe.
"Those who want to kill or commit violence in the name of Islam, who detest others in the name of Islam have nothing to do on French soil," he said. "Those who do not want to spread the message (of peace) will be expelled from French territory."
France occasionally expels radical preachers, sometimes with much fanfare and sometimes quietly. [..]
After praising religious tolerance in France, Sarkozy urged Muslim countries to treat their non-Muslim minorities better.
"In France, we respect those who practice Islam," he said. "I wish countries with Muslim majorities had the same respect for differences and other people's identities."
Without mentioning names, he said some members of his own government were observing Ramadan, the Islamic fasting month due to end around October 13.
Justice Minister Rachida Dati and State Secretary for Towns Fadela Amara come from a Muslim background. Amara accompanied Sarkozy to the dinner at the mosque.
Steve 41oo wrote:Its time to engage in a battle of ideas. I'm not clever enough to do so, but I did come up with this
Well, how do you fight your own extremistic ideas? In a country lead by the head of a Christian church? Proud of what is is and got by invading foreigners?
I could imagine that such is rather difficult to handle ... especially, if you want to act lawfull - laws, made under a religious spirit by a religious inspired society.
You intoduced the term "theocratic" here. Now. Neither did I use it nor had itbeen mentioned re this subject before here.
Walter Hinteler wrote:You intoduced the term "theocratic" here. Now. Neither did I use it nor had itbeen mentioned re this subject before here.
Now you are being disingenuous.
You challenged steve with the assertion that he lives in a country led by the head of a Christian church.
I am convinced you don't believe that the Queen is, in any meaningful way, the "head" of the Church of England, or that she, in a substantive way, "leads" the UK.
Nine days in Slotervaart
In an unusually violent week in Amsterdam's Slotervaart district, cars were torched and youths clashed with police on consecutive nights after a Moroccan was shot dead at a police station. He was killed by a policewoman he had just stabbed.
The issue of often Moroccan problem youths in the Netherlands goes back to a problematic immigration history, but the problems in Slotervaart are caused by a limited group of around 35 criminal youths.
Experts and Minister ter Horst reject a comparison with the French riots: there is far more poverty, unemployment and racism in the Paris suburbs. The Dutch government spends millions of euros on Slotervaart, and police are in regular contact with religious leaders and community representatives.
One in 20 Dutch is Muslim
About 5% of the Dutch population is Muslim, according to new figures for 2006 from Statistics Netherlands (CBS). The figure is based on a new, more reliable methodology, and is lower than earlier estimates. It comes to about 850,000 people, when old calculations had put the number at more than one million.
Previously the CBS based its estimates on external research and the percentage of Muslims in the country of origin. Now the agency uses data from its Ongoing Survey into Living Conditions. In this survey people themselves indicate what religious congregation they consider themselves a part of.
Almost half of people of non-Western background in the Netherlands follow Islam. Turks and Moroccans are the largest groups of Muslims, but there are also 12,000 native Dutch Muslims.
A rightwing Dutch MP said yesterday that he was making a film to highlight what he calls "fascist" passages in the Qur'an, in his latest high-profile criticism of Islam.
The interior and justice ministers expressed concern but said they had no authority to stop Geert Wilders screening his film. Wilders plans to depict parts of the Qur'an he says are used as inspiration "by bad people to do bad things".
Less than 10 minutes long, the film is expected to be shown in late January. It will show "the intolerant and fascist character of the Qur'an", said Wilders, whose anti-Islam campaign helped his Freedom party win nine seats in parliament in last year's election. In the past, Wilders has compared the Qur'an to Adolf Hitler's book Mein Kampf. He has claimed the Netherlands is being swamped by a "tsunami" of Islamic immigrants.
In 2004 a film director, Theo van Gogh, had his throat slit by an Islamist after his film Submission portrayed abused Muslim women with Qur'anic texts written on their near-naked flesh. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who wrote the screenplay, was threatened in a note left on Van Gogh's body.
A justice ministry spokesman, Wim van der Weegen, said the government was "taking measures" before the broadcast.
Wilders said he was not afraid of reprisals. "I have lived with 24-hour protection for three years," he said. "I will make the film and see what reaction it creates."
Spanish poll shows Muslims' "absolute integration"
12 December 2007
Three out of four Muslims residing in Spain say they are happy to do so, according to a new government-sponsored poll that officials argue highlights the "absolute integration" of approximately one million Muslims immigrants into Spanish society. Among those who have been there more than 10 years the figure rises to 83%.
The freedom to practice their religion was the principal factor respondents cited for their happiness. However, the poll also showed that 2% support the use of violence to spread their beliefs.
I think that's an amazing statistic. So much that I would like to know exactly what the question was. Islam is not prohibited in Spain. They can worship quite freely, yet 2% feel they have a right to use violence to spread their beliefs!
Steve 41oo wrote:I think that's an amazing statistic. So much that I would like to know exactly what the question was. Islam is not prohibited in Spain. They can worship quite freely, yet 2% feel they have a right to use violence to spread their beliefs!
Unless it was a survey of a massive scale, 2% is a near-meaningless number. Say the margin of error in the poll was what it is in US election polls, about 3%, then it's a number that might represent up to 5% of Muslims, or might well represent 0%.
Eg: say the survey was of 1,000 people - I have no idea, but that would be a fairly typical polling sample - then we're talking 20 respondents who said that the use of violence to spread their beliefs is in principle OK; and then you'd in turn talk about a fraction of that again who would themselves be willing to use it - i.e., 0 or 1 persons in the sample.
There's just not much to read stuff into on that count, here. The survey must have yielded lots of info about what the mainstream of Spanish Muslims think, the majority of them or respective significant minorities of them on any one question -- but result groups constituting one or two or three percent of the sample, that's akin to meaningless.