Belgium: Newspaper starts Islam project

The eminent newspaper of Belgium De Standard started an interesting campaign last week - a 15-part daily series about Islam. On the first day the newspaper dispensed a Dutch translation of the Koran.

De Standard, one of the political Belgian newspapers, took a step to eliminate the disagreement between the members of other religions and Muslims, the most discussed issue in the last year in Europe. The executive editor of the newspaper Bart Sturtewagen said: "Millions of Muslims live in Europe and in Belgium. We need to learn Islam in order to live together. As Europeans, we need to accept that Islam is among us. We can not understand the reactions of Muslims to caricatures of the prophet Mohammad. We can not comprehend the conflict situation in Iraq in Iraqi war if we do not know Islamic history."

The goal of the series is "to nourish and carry on the debate about Islam, its place and role in our society," said Bart Sturtewagen to IKON Kerknieuws. "We're not going to ignore the hot potatoes, but it is our aim to go beyond cliches and prejudices and so strengthen mutual understanding."

The initiative was started by De Standaard. The texts are written by their own editors and they didn't seek structural cooperation with the official Belgian Muslim organizations.

"We involved many Muslims in our own country and outside in the contents with interviews, debates and analysis".

"We made a multi-media project of it, met debate forums about the issues next to films in which Muslims explain to us that Islam means for them, how they go about it, and what they think of the manner in which they, as Muslims, are looked at and come across in our society."

"When we looked for a way to tell the public about our project, we got the opportunity to distribute the Koran as translated into Dutch for a reduced price."

Source: SABAH (English), IKON Kerknieuws (Dutch)


Anonymous said...

Is there a way to read this series in English?

Esther said...

hi anonymous,

Not that I know of. You can see it on the De Standaard website, though some articles require you to sign up.