Quote: Islamophobia vs. just fear

Quote: Islamophobia vs. just fear

The following is a partial translation of an interview with René Danen, chairman of Nederland Bekent Kleur (The Netherlands Recognized Color), on the Bruggen Bouwers (bridge builders) site. The interview was conducted by Greco Idema.

Q: Where is the boundary between Islamophobia and strong criticism of Islam due to (just) fear?

A: Muslims, just like for example Protestants, are not a uniform group. Within Islam there are, just as within every religion, excesses which deserve justly strong criticism. But currently criticism of religion is often misused to attack entire population groups. the religion of this group is than used as an excuse to exclude a group. Thus Wilders, for example, wants to close the borders for "all people from Muslim countries", though there are - such as in Turkey for example - also Christians living there. That therefore has nothing more to do with criticism of religion, though Wilders claims that it does. Therefore we collected at the http://WatWilWilders.nl website dozens of statement by PVV-ers. From which it appears that in many cases it's not about criticism of religion but rather insulting population groups, inciting to hatred or discrimination. And that is criminal. Before the end of the year Wilders should appear in court for that.

Q: What are the similarities and differences between Islamophobia and antisemitism?

A: Both forms of racism are reprehensible and should be fought hard against. Antisemitism still happens among people on the street, on websites and from extreme organizations. In the media and politics it's mostly Islamophobia and discrimination of Muslims which currently predominate. The biggest party in the polls is guilty of it every day and De Telegraaf and other papers have a new smear campagain against Moroccans every month, which rightly or wrongly also links to their religion. The result of this type of smear campaigns is that the head of personnel of an Albert Heijn store thoguht it normal recently to write "No Moroccans" in a recruitment ad.

Q: There's a taboo to compare (the policy of) Hitler and Wilders, Fatima Elatik (Amsterdam district mayor) recently said on the Knevel en Van de Brink show. Do you agree with her?

A: What it's about is that you name and fight the xenophobia of Wilders. Jan Marijnissen said last year in a speech that categorically condemning people due to their belief, just as the PVV does, is pure discrimination. He called it 'perilous' as according to him you can also see in South Africa, in the Balkans, and in North-Ireland. I agree with that. Other examples also fit in with that, such as Germany in the 30s and recently Rwanda.

Q: Many Jews in the Netherlands think that antisemitism is again growing, particularly thanks the Muslims. what do you think of that?

A:Antisemitism sadly happens among all population groups in the Netherlands. I therefore think that we should stop from playing off minorities in our country against each other. That is the divide-and-conquer-politics of Wilders: gays against Muslims and women against Moroccans. We shouldn't join in with that. All forms of discrimination and racism are just as reprehensible. Nederland Bekent Kleur has been organizing since its founding in 1992 annual Kristallnacht memorials. Last year we asked for attention in fighting both modern-day antisemitism as well as Islamophobia. It's a matter of gathering together all population groups against any form of racism.

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