Though orthodox Muslims might not be a danger to society, they're a threat to the personal freedom of Muslim girls and women, Amsterdam diversity alderman, Andrée van Es (GroenLinks), said in response to a recent study on Salafism.
The report concluded that strictly orthodox Muslims are not a threat to Dutch society. This is also due to the enormous social control in Salafist communities: the faithful consistently check each other, and continuously speak of what is allowed and what isn't.
"The Netherlands now heaves a sigh of relief," says Van Es, "But we don't care what this means for the women in those orthodox communities. I speak so often with Islamic women and girls who say that they're not free. They tell of women they know - never about themselves - who have been married very young and that nobody is happy. Or that they're afraid to drink a glass of wine on the terrace or light a cigarette. And those are the little examples. There are also women who don't have freedom to get the education they want, or choose their own partner."
The research was prepared for the Netherlands' counter-terrorism unit. Based on the conclusion that strictly orthodox Muslims are not a threat, Justice Minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin said that threat level in the Netherlands will not be raised. But that's not the whole story, says Van Es. "Two thirds of all Muslims are moderately to strictly orthodox. Those are enormous numbers, where women can't behave as they would want to. It's my responsibility as alderman to stand up for them."