THE HAGUE, 12/04/06 – An unjustified fear of and aversion to Islam exists in the Netherlands. Instead of continuing to drag the name of that faith through the mud, there should be far more criticism of friendly countries such as the US, Israel and Russia, the Scientific Council for Government Policy (WRR) concludes.
WRR researcher Jan Schoonenboom is worried about “Islam-bashing” in the debate in the Netherlands. The frequently heard statement that Islam in principle conflicts with democracy and human rights is wrong, he declares. “If you, as a Muslim in the Netherlands, keep hearing only that Islam is the equivalent of violence and that you belong to a fifth column, then you feel alien. In the debate, many big words are used without being based on facts.”
“Look, for example, at the warnings of the Christian democrats (CDA) parliamentary leader Verhagen about the introduction of the Sharia. As if we in the Netherlands would then get corporal punishment! I do not know whether it is ignorance or design on the part of Verhagen, but it does not make sense and is irresponsible.” Schoonenboom was commenting yesterday on ‘Dynamics in Islamic activism’, a report by the WRR to be presented to Foreign Minister Bot today.
According to Schoonenboom “we should not be so spastic about the Sharia.” It may be that the system leads to corporal punishment in countries like Saudi Arabia and Sudan, “but under the Sharia in Morocco, family law has been reformed, very much to the advantage of women’s rights.” The Sharia for Muslims is comparable to the Ten Commandments for Christians, in the researcher’s view. “It is God’s plan for human nature.”…
Don’t worry, Schoonenboom. You will have abundant opportunity not to be “spastic” about the Sharia soon enough.
Schoonenboom advises “an adventurous foreign policy” for the Dutch government. “We must support the moderate Islamic powers much more, such as the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Hezbollah in Lebanon, instead of secular movements without prospects in Muslim countries. We must talk to the Palestinian regime of Hamas. They are democratically elected. It is a terrorist movement, but so was Arafat’s PLO. And the IRA in Ireland.”
“On the other hand, we must be much more critical regarding our friendly countries. We must address Russia more forcefully on human rights violations in Chechnya, Israel for its decades of ignoring UN resolutions and the US regarding Guantanamo Bay. In the Netherlands, there has practically never been a debate on the reasons for the invasion of Iraq and the Dutch support for this.” (…) “We must also get rid of hypocrisy. We protest if one Christian is sentenced to death in Afghanistan, but what do we do if it is a Muslim?”