Belgium: A letter to progressives who flirt with reactionary Islam

Belgium: A letter to progressives who flirt with reactionary Islam

Update: A few translation updates.

Alain Destexhe (Senator, MR) and Leftist journalist Claude Demelenne presented a book yesterday in which they warned of certain conservative forms of Islam. Leading to this letter to progressives who flirt with reactionary Islam (Lettre aux progressistes qui flirtent avec l'islam réac) is the response to an opinion piece that the two published in Le Soir in July. In it the liberal senator and the journalist with expressed leftist ideas, warned of Muslims who question the separation of chruch and state and the rights of women. The Vigilance Musulmane association lodged a complaint of inciting to hatred at the Center for equal opportunities and opposition to racism. "It is improbable that such a complaint would be taken seriously and that there's an official should should investigate it,' says Destexhe.

The authors say that ultraconservative Islam is growing in Belgium. "We are not Islamophobic, but regret that Leftist parties such as PS (Socialist), Ecolo and CDH are sensitive to pressure by the fundamentalist lobby out of electoral considerations."

According to the authors it's high time that somebody in Francophone Belgium would start up a democratic debate about it. "Flemish parliament member Luckas Vander Taelen (Groen!) took similar action recently on the Dutch side," says Destexhe. "On the Francophone side there's really no Vander Taelen who dares start the debate."

According to the authors the situation is serious, for sure in certain Brussels neighborhoods. "There is a banalization of antisemitism. "Dirty Jew" is as acceptable a curse-word there as 'damn'. Every day young women are called whores because they don't wear a headscarf or because their skirts are too short according to some. There are schools where girls systematically refuse to swim or exercise. Homosexuals are intimidated on the street. It's impossible."

Demelenne, who once worked for PS deputy chairman Philippe Moureaux, criticizes the intellectual terror that is conducted against anybody who dares express the slightest criticism of a certain type of Islam. "Recently I was even called by Moureaux in a debate a 'new fascist' and 'collaborator of the extreme right'".

"The socialism that Moureaux propagates is ready to go a bit with the demands of conservative Muslims," says the journalist. "The CDH is again proud that they have the first veiled parliament member in Europe. In Ecolo there are even people who see no problem with imams accompanying school excursions in order to supervise if everything goes off well."

The authors end their book with thirty demands that should not be yielded to: from the demand to wear a headscarf in school or in the administration to the question of planning vacation days based on the Ramadan.

Source: De Standaard (Dutch)

No comments: