"Ban on Koran" meets with disapproval
9 August 2007, THE HAGUE – Geert Wilders' urging that the Koran be banned met with strong disapproval on Wednesday. The leader of the Freedom Party (PVV) thinks the holy book of Islam is just as fascist as Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf. The government said Wilders' comments were damaging to integration. Two lawyers have filed reports against Wilders for "inciting hate." Wilders said in an article he sent in to the Volkskrant that the Koran spurs Muslims on to violence. He wants to make it a crime to use the b
9 August 2007
THE HAGUE – Geert Wilders' urging that the Koran be banned met with strong disapproval on Wednesday. The leader of the Freedom Party (PVV) thinks the holy book of Islam is just as fascist as Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf.
The government said Wilders' comments were damaging to integration. Two lawyers have filed reports against Wilders for "inciting hate." Wilders said in an article he sent in to the Volkskrant that the Koran spurs Muslims on to violence. He wants to make it a crime to use the book in mosques and at home.
Wilders' call to ban the Koran comes in direct response to last Saturday's attack on Ehsan Jami, chairman of the committee for ex-Muslims. Blacklisting the book would send a clear signal to radical Muslims who use the book as "an excuse and inspiration" for violence, Wilders says.
The cabinet and Parliament rejected Wilders' call. "It must be entirely clear that the cabinet has no intention of banning the Koran in the Netherlands and that it will never consider this in future," said Integration Minister Ella Vogelaar.
She said Wilders' comments were "damaging to Dutch social relations because he is portraying one population group in a bad light and could drive even more of a wedge between Muslims and non-Muslims. This urging is insulting to the large majority of Muslims."
Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen has also openly distanced himself from Wilders' statements. He thinks that the PVV leader oversteps "the bounds of what is decent." Both freedom of religion and freedom of expression are foundations of the Dutch constitutional state, Verhagen said.
Liberal VVD MP Halbe Zijlstra thinks that "Wilders has lost his way." "He claims to stand up for Dutch standards and values, but at the same time he puts one of these values out with the rubbish: the freedom of religion." Christian democrat CDA MP Madeleine van Toorenburg also said Wilders' disregard for this freedom was remarkable.
Representatives of Dutch Muslim organisations responded stoically to Wilders' most recent attack on their religion. Chairman of the Dutch Muslim Council Abdeljamid Khairoun: "Wilders suffers from a religious syndrome. He has said repeatedly that the Koran is a bad book. I expect he will also ask for a ban on the Torah and the Bible." Khairoun felt that Wilders had pulled passages from the Koran out of context.
Secretary of the Advisory Body on Muslims and the State (CMO) Nasr Joemman says Wilders is primarily trying to garner more support. Joemman suspects that the PVV leader is trying with his rhetoric to push Muslim youth to become more radical so that he can take a stand against them.
Cardinal Ad Simonis said the proposal to ban the Koran was "too ridiculous for words." "Just the idea! Every word that is wasted on proposals like this is one too many."
It is not the first time that Wilders is lashing out at the Koran. Earlier this year he said that Muslims who want to stay in the Netherlands should tear out and discard half the Koran. These comments led to commotion both in the Netherlands and abroad. Saudi Arabia and Iran made their displeasure at the statement clear.
Minister Verhagen sent the letter in which the cabinet distances itself from Wilders' comments to the Dutch embassies abroad on Wednesday, in case they are questioned about the matter.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2007]
Subject: Dutch news