Hague: Book presentation canceled due to security fears

Hague: Book presentation canceled due to security fears

Math teacher Frans Groenendijk was supposed to present his book "Islamofobie?" (Islamophobia?) this Thursday in a hall in the World Forum in the Hague.  The congress center already checked if there was a need for something to eat or drink.  Everything appeared to be in order.

GroenLinks (Greens) parliamentarian Tofik Dibi was supposed to received the book - along with a former-Muslim woman and the chief editor of the leftist blog Sargasso.  Columnist Theodor Holman was supposed to have given an introduction.

But just before the weekend, Groenendijk got a mail from Michiel Middendorf, general director of World Forum, who wrote: "I can't honor your request to hold a book presentation in the World Forum.  I can't guarantee the security of my colleagues, your guests and yourself, and for this reason,  in my view, it's not responsible to let the event take place."

Middendorf explained to this paper: "We made this decision because of the subject of the meeting, Islamopobia."  He says that his organization would "like to offer a platform" generally speaking.  "Last year we ever offered accommodations to the international Afghanistan summit.  But then security was guaranteed by the state."

"It is not so," according to Middendorf, "that Islam is the only subject that involves security risks and it is also not so that we would have to turn down every meeting about Islam."  Why this than?  He doesn't want to go into it.  He also doesn't want to say if the fact that Groenendijk was very critical of Islam in his book and on the Internet, plays a role.

What should Groenendijk do now?  "Look for another location that's not afraid of it," says Middendorf.  "That doesn't sound hospitable, but if I'll make a wrong consideration about security, you'll call me up again afterwards."

Groenendijk was one of the PVV voters who at the beginning of July responded to the "Open letter to PVV voters" of GroenLinks parliamentarian Tofik Dibi.  The parliamentarian wanted to ally with 'all people who find freedom and equality just as important as I do".  It led to a conversation that both liked.

"A calm man, with a story," so characterizes Dibi Groenendijk.  "Somebody with a leftist background."

Groenendijk published the book on his own.  On the back cover, there's a anonymous rejection by a publisher who praised the book but feared for the reputation of his publishing company.

Dibi calls the book a "bit of a pessimistic image of the threat and fear of Mohammedanism, as he calls it, but sincere and well build.  I don't agree with him, but it's good to have that clash."

Groenendijk sent the World Forum a surprised and indignant mail.  He points out that the meeting was only for invitees and writes: "It's of course your right not to offer space for people which are disagreeable for you.  It's truly rather tasteless when you hide behind a completely fictional threat which supposedly comes from people of Mohammedan or extreme-leftist background."

Middendorf of the World Forum responded: "I take the liberty to end the discussion."

Dibi says it's beginning to be irritating that things are done out of fear.  "Thsu you make everything only worse."  He says he can't understand why the book presentation is such a risk.  "And if that is so, you can discuss measures, no?"  Dibi is now trying to find an alternative place.  "A lot of class," Groenendijk thinks of that.  "This really began with the assistance of left to right."

Source: De Pers (Dutch), h/t NRP

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