Gouda: Bad showing at protest against homo-photos

Sometimes, I have no idea what the news are trying to say. This article goes out of its way to stress that the protest was peaceful. That the Alevites see nothing wrong with homosexuality and support freedom of speech, but that they feel insulted by an exhibition about homosexual Muslims.

The article also states, very clearly, that the Federation of the Alevite Community in the Netherlands called on people not to participate in the protest. What should have been the main point here, was brushed aside in favor of what the journalist saw as 'moderate Muslims'. If anybody's looking for them, the 'liberal Muslims' weren't standing outside demanding that an exhibition be closed down. They didn't come out to protest, they stayed home, just like the liberal Dutch.

This same federation, btw, is calling on their site for doctors not to agree to preconditions about which doctors should take care of women. The say that having the man demand who will take care of a woman is women's oppression, it's seeing the woman as the man's private property, and it impedes the integration of women in society.

It might be less interesting for journalists, but the Alevite federation should certainly be interviewed more often.


About 75 liberal Muslims protested on Saturday in Gouda against the disputed homo-photos of the Iranian artist Sooreh Hera.

The organizers hoped for 500 participants. With protest signs and banners they called manager Ranti Tjan of museumgoudA not to exhibit Hera's photos.

The pictures display homosexual Muslim men, who wear masks of the prophet Mohammed and his stepson Ali. Muslims think that's an insult.

Dutch Muslims are divided on the question how to protest against the disputed photos of the Iranian artist Sooreh Hera. They display homosexual Muslim men who wear masks of the prophet and his stepson Ali.

About 75 liberal Muslims from around the country demonstrated Saturday next to museumgoudA, which had offered to exhibit the work of Hera after the Hague municipal museum dropped out. A disappointment for the Democratic Alevite Platform, who was sure they were going to be 500 protesters.

Initiator Yilmaz Akansu blames Hakder, the Federation of the Alevite Community in the Netherlands. "They have sabotaged our protest and called on people not to go protesting." Co-organizer Turap Tercan adds: "They're afraid that the Alevites would get a bad name and that Dutch would see us as radicals."

Alevites are liberal Muslims. They have no trouble with homosexuality or freedom of expression. The group, which is composed mostly of Turks, has about 100,000 followers in the Netherlands.

The group wrestles with the question how to object against the work of the Iranian artist, because the Alevites agree about one thing: the homo-photos are insulting.

Museum manager Ranti Tjan doesn't agree. "The exhibition fits well with the artistic policy of our museum," he says. "Insult is a consequence of our freedom of religion. It's difficult to limit it."

In order to calm down feelings among the Muslims, Ranti accepted a petition on Saturday. He even gave out tea to thirsty protesters. He also answered a great number of questions from the peaceful protesters and explained in detail his opinions to the Turkish press, which had turned out en masse.

If Hera's work would be shown in museumgoudA soon, is still a question. Tjan: "I have contact with her by email and I hope to make an appointment with her as quickly as possible for a personal meeting. Up to now that hasn't been successful."

Source: AD (Dutch)

See also: Hague: Museum rejects 'Mohammad exhibit' , Hague: New committee demands respect for Islam

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