Monday, January 31, 2005

Expatica - Dutch Muslims find a voice - of reason?

Expatica - Living in, moving to, or working in the Netherlands, plus Dutch news in English

Dutch Muslims find a voice - of reason?

The establishment of a political party to represent Muslims in the Netherlands is as welcome as it is overdue. But it also entails very real risks.

The announcement by columnist Mohammed Jabri that moves are afoot to launch a political party for Dutch Muslims by the beginning of summer should come as no surprise to anyone who has followed events in the Netherlands in recent years.

The Muslim Democratic Party (MDP) could be a real force for good if it plays a positive role. It should forthrightly defend aspects of Muslim life that are worth defending; help spread understanding and acceptance of Muslims among the native Dutch and vice versa; and perhaps most importantly, expose as a lie the convenient myth that Muslims are the root of all that is wrong or bad in the Netherlands today.

On the other hand, if the MDP fails to get off the ground, embroils itself in extremist rhetoric or suffers the internal disputes that have set the anti-immigration LPF on the way to an agonisingly slow self-destruction, the consequences would be terrible. Politics would be seen by many in the Muslim community as a dead-end, leaving imams and radical thugs to represent the community.

Already there are daily reports of young Muslim men — a minority, but an active one — in the major cities who look on the native Dutch as the enemy and fair game for crimes of theft. It is common for unveiled women, both Muslim and native Dutch, in parts of Amsterdam to be branded "whores" and "sluts" by self-righteous Muslims.

But giving Muslims a real voice on the political stage — and who knows, perhaps a seat at the Cabinet table — would go a long way to helping Muslims to look on Dutch society as their society also.

A Muslim party would have real potential: there are an estimated one million Muslims in the Netherlands and the number is growing.

[ The European march to dhimmitude continues apace. Godspeed Holland! (err, that's Allahspeed in Dutch) ]


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