Netherlands: Politician rejects exchanging Christian for Muslim holidays

State Secretary of Social Affairs Aboutaleb thinks it's 'absurd' to propose that Easter Monday and Pentecost Monday will be exchanged for a Muslim holiday.

"The Netherlands is a country with a Christian tradition."  Such days have been achieved and you must not touch them, said Aboutaleb in Rotterdam Saturday.  The politician, who is of Muslim background, spoke on the second and last day of the SGP (Reformed Political Party) youth congress.

The politician does support introducing an Islamic holiday, but then it should be an extra free day for everybody.  He says that is not strange.  He points to the United States, where a holiday for Jews shuts down all public life.

Aboutaleb thinks it's really not sensible to put the introduction of an Islamic holiday on the agenda at this moment, seeing the unrest of society currently about integration of foreigners.  "We are currently in a transition phase, a changeover phase.  When that is over, we could discuss it."

The politician thinks that citizens in this country should think in religions, but in people.  "Thus we don't speak about Islam, but about Muslims."  Further he advises the SGP youth not to judge Muslims based on the extremist deeds of some.  "That is just as idiotic as saying that all Christians are bad on the basis of extremist deeds of some Christians who kill abortion doctors."

Aboutaleb, who will start work as mayor of Rotterdam on January 1, appreciates that the government treats all religions equally.  He would emigrate if article 1 of the constitution, which guarantees equal treatment of all citizens by the government, would disappear.  "If a Muslim doesn't serve a Jew at the counter, then we have a problem.  If you won't help me as a Muslim, too," the politician impressed the SGP youth.

Source: Reformatorisch Dagblad (Dutch)

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