Tag Archives: Netherlands

Ending Forced Marriages In Netherlands

An all too common experience in the Netherlands is that young girls go on vacation to their parent’s homeland and do not return because they were married off to someone or they might return as a married woman. A new pilot program will ask young girls who are headed home on vacation to sign a declaration in which they make clear there is no intention on their part to be part of an arranged marriage. If the student is forced into such a marriage, the school can contact the police. This program is in effect in Great Britain which has staff who are ready to fly to a country and work with local authorities for the return of the young girl.

The legal ground for return of the girl is the compulsory education act which requires school attendance and if parents fail to have their child in school they are subject to legal penalties. Schools will also undertake an education program concerning arranged marriages and the legal rights of girls.

Who Is Karst Tates?

In the modern world, they emerge from the shadows of society and gain fame by some action that no one expected. Karst Tates was a man known by his neighbors in the Dutch town of Huissen as a withdrawn individual who lived alone and most probably dreamed alone. He had lost his job at a security firm and sat in the darkness of his house lost in dreams and wondering about his future. No one knows what finally propelled him to get in his car and head for the city of Apeldoorn where the queen was leading a celebration on the Queen’s national holiday. As so often in these situations, it is the isolate, the man without a sense of community, the man lost in some form of anger or discontent who lashes out at the world.

He admitted to the police his goal was to ram his car into her bus and try to cause serious injury to the royal family. Instead he wound up dead along with five other innocent victims of the attack. His name will disappear into the vortex of history, a footnote about a botched attack that killed a few and left the world with more questions than answers. Is the need to become known worth the sacrifice of one’s life?

Controversial Muslim Leader OK In Rotterdam

Muslim scholar Tariq Ramadan was hired by the city of Rotterdam to “help lift the multicultural dialogue to a higher level.” The scholar supposedly was to lead public debates which are aimed at bringing together people from different backgrounds and cultures in the Netherlands. Last month, a gay magazine, Gay krant, charged that Tariq Ramadan had made homphobic and mysogenistic statements on tapes that were distributed to the Mulsim community. Critics charge that Ramadan says one thing in Arabic to Muslims and another to the Dutch community of Christians. However, the city of Rotterdam, after investigating the allegations, said there was no evidence to support claims against him, and extended his contract for two years.

Ramadan’s basic meesage if that Islam and European culture do not have to be at odds and he wants development of what is termed, European Islam. Right wing party leader, Bas van Tijn, of WD, argues that Ramadan is not qualified to bridge communities because he does not speak Dutch. If he does lack knowledge of Dutch, it does seem unusual to appoint him to head a drive to bridge communities.

Ethnic Registration Illegal In Netherlands

Local councils in the Netherlands which are registering the ethnic origins of young trouble makers and other at risk youngsters have been told to immediately halt these procedures by the privacy watchdog CBP. In 2006, about 21 local authority areas containing a high concentraiton of immigrants from the Caribbean Antilles Islands were given permission to register the ethnic origins of young troublemakers. The CBP argues there was no legal foundation for processing ethnic details of individuals who are in trouble with the law. At the end of the year, the government gave up plans to establish a national data bank with information on young Antillean and Aruban trouble-makers. Government officials argued such a list would be in the national interest.

Why do governments avoid developing data banks on criminal records of those belonging to the majority? Anyone who claims such lists are merely an effort to help troubled youth is living in fantasy.

Dutch Coffee House Test Case On Drugs

The Dutch have long been known as a nation in which people have extensive freedom regarding the use of drugs and its coffee shops have been allowed to sell marijuana. For some reason, law enforcement officials have decided to prosecute the owners and employees of one of the country’s largest “coffee-houses” in a case that might have widespread implications for the legal use of drugs. Meddy Willemsen is accused of encouraging illegal cannabis cultivation and running an organized supply chain which provides marijuana to people.Cannabis can legally be sold to consumers in amounts not exceeding 5 grams per person, but large-scale cultivation and bulk buying of the drug is prohibited. Thus, marijuana and hashish are allowed to leave the coffee shop through the front door, but you can’t bring them in the back door.

Some members of parliament want to crack down on all use of marijuana while most mayors want it to be legal and even expanded. In theory the operation of these coffee-shops have technically been in violation of the law, but its common sense approach to drugs has spared the Netherlands from the abuses that are known in nations like the United States where gangs fight over territory and destroy communities. We suggest every member of the Netherland parliament be given a free two week visit to Mexico where they can study the impact of illegal drugs on the lives of people and the nation.

Does A Person Have A Right To Hate Muslims?

The United States has been living in a nightmare in which government decides who has a right to speak and who is a “terrorist.” Dutch politician Geert Wilders, is an outspoken critic of Muslims and their religion. Last year a Dutch public prosecutor refused to bring charges against him of hate speech but this week the Amsterdam Court of Appeal found there was a case to be made for inciting hatred. The court ruled Wilders had personally insulted Muslim believers by attacking the symbols of Islam and that his film, “Fitna” was “biased” and would encourage people to hate Muslims.

There is no doubt Court of Appeal believes it represents the truth and that somehow government should be endowed with the power to decide what is true or false, what is allowed to be said and what can not be said. The famous American criteria is “shouting Fire in a crowded theater” can directly lead to the death of other humans. As far as one can tell, there is not evidence anyone has been harmed because Wilders is a bigot. The bigots of this world have a right to their ideas and silencing their criticism or hatred opens the door for tomorrow having what today is deemed “right” to be reclassified as “wrong” by a different government.

I always thought in a free society an individual had the absolute right to make an ass of himself. Just about everyone trying to persuade people to join their religion is insulting another religion. Let the court of public opinion decide the fate of Wilders, not a government agency. One Bush experience in life is enough for a lifetime.

An Obama Elected Mayor Of Rotterdam

The spirit of Obama touched down in Rotterdam where a Moroccan immigrant was installed as mayor of the city marking the first time in the history of the Netherlands that an immigrant has been elected mayor of an important city in the nation. Mr. Ahmed Aboutalelb, who holds dual Moroccan-Dutch citizenship, was elected which marks an important first step in furthering efforts to integrate immigrants into the population of the Netherlands. Mr. Jan Franssen, the queen’s representative in the region, termed the election, “Obamas on the Maas(the river in the city)” and added, “the significance is great. This proves that there is no glass ceiling for immigrants in the Netherlands.”

Mayor Aboutaleb said he no longer had any other dreams in life since his ultimate desire has now been accomplished. The forces of hate and prejudice against immigrants suffered a setback and hopefully there will be other immigrants elected to high office.

Netherlands Bans Burkas In Schools

The Netherland Cabinet plans to introduce a ban on the face-covering burka in all schools in the nation. Not only students, but teachers, parents and any visitor to a school, including anyone delivering goods, will faill under the ban. Private Islamic schools will also have to comply. An estimated 100 women in the Netherlands wear the all-encompassing Islamic garment. Education Mnister Ronald Plasterk said it was important for communication in classrooms for teachers and students to be able to observe one another’s faces. However, Plasterk, for the present is allowing colleges and universities to make their own decisions regarding the wearing of a burka.

Earlier this year, the Dutch government announced it would not allow civil servants to wear a burka. Health Minister Ab Klink is considering whether the burka should be banned from medical facilities. As a teacher who taught in college classrooms in which some women wore the burka, there were some problems in communication, particularly since at age 78, my hearing is not first class and I depend on reading lips. But, when all was said and done, I made arrangements and there was some give and take on the part of Muslim women in functioning as part of a group. If there are only a 100 women it strikes this writer as much ado about nothing since there is no major issue in the Netherlands about burkas except that which exists in some male minds.