Utrecht: Moroccan politicians meet to discuss their role in the Islam debate

Utrecht: Moroccan politicians meet to discuss their role in the Islam debate

Via NOS (Dutch):

Moroccan-Dutch politicians met in Utrecht recently to discuss the position of Muslims in the Netherlands. They discusses the ban on ritual slaughter, the threat of a ban on circumcision and wearing a headscarf. They also discussed their role as Moroccan-Dutch politicians in this debate. The politicians have a dilemma, on the one hand they want to stand up for the interests of their supporters, on the other they want to follow their party's political line.

The debate was an initiative by Latif Hasnaoui, PvdA (Labour) councillor in Den Bosch. Hasnaoui has been concerned in recent years about the political climate in the Netherlands. These concerns grew when his party supported the ban on ritual slaughter. He says that increasingly more aspects of Muslim life are being restricted, and he thinks that parliament members didn't stand up for the rights of Muslims.

The debate was as harsh as the media debate. The majority of those present are councillors and most are members of the PvdA. Fanida Kadra (PvdA Weert) had a lot of criticism for Muslim parliamentarians. "During the campaigns they cheerfully went to the mosque and tea house, but during the debate on banning ritual slaughter they didn't react. Where are they, for that matter?"

Most councillors agreed that the rights of Muslims should be stood up for in the Netherlands, but they differed on the reasoning. Hasnaoui thinks that a Muslims politicians should stand up fro Muslims, just like an entrepreneur stands up for other entrepreneurs. Nourdin el Ouali (GroenLinks Rotterdam) said that it shouldn't be about support a religion, but about principles.

"It's not up to the politician to tell Muslims what they should or shouldn't do according to their religion. Moreover, the debate about ritual slaughter was a chance for Tofik Dibi to argue for separation of Church and State. So that ritual slaughter would be maintained."

The debate was concluded with the conclusion that the Islamic lobby in the Netherlands has fallen short and so the rights and interest of Muslims are increasingly under pressure. Hasnaoui hopes that the meeting will be the beginning of a process where politicians will stand up more for the rights of the Muslim minority in the Netherlands.