Ex Muslims to sign tolerance declaration

11th September 2007, Comments 0 comments

11 September 2007, AMSTERDAM (dpa) - Former Muslims from several European countries are due to sign a European Declaration of Tolerance Tuesday in The Hague on the sixth anniversary of the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States.

11 September 2007

AMSTERDAM (dpa) - Former Muslims from several European countries are due to sign a European Declaration of Tolerance Tuesday in The Hague on the sixth anniversary of the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States.

With the declaration, the ex-Muslim committees of Britain, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Norway, the Netherlands and Sweden want to draw attention to what they say is "the lack of freedom of religion within Islamic culture."

They also want to protest the "lack of protest" against Muslim fundamentalism from within the global Muslim community.

That is why, the European former Muslims say, they symbolically chose the sixth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York and the Pentagon in Washington to sign their Declaration.

The initiative to sign a European Declaration of Tolerance was launched by 22-year-old Muslim critic Ehsan Jami.

Jami founded a committee of former Muslims in the Netherlands five months ago as a means of overcoming what he called "persistent taboos" in Muslim society about leaving the faith.

Jami, also a member of the city council for Labour in Leidschendam-Voorburg near The Hague, lives in a so-called safe house in a secret location.

He was placed under heavy personal security after being attacked for the third time on 4 August.

Following the personal attacks against Jami, many well-known Dutch politicians, authors and journalists have signed a Declaration of Support for his committee.

On Tuesday, Dutch daily Volkskrant published the full list of well-known Dutch nationals who expressed their support for Jami and their protest against Muslim fundamentalism.

Among the signatories are Liberal Party leader Mark Rutte, Animal Party leader Marianne Thieme, authors Leon de Winter and Joost Zwagerman and cabaret performer Hans Teeuwen.

In an article published in Volkskrant as well, author Zwagerman writes that Jami deserves support because "it is necessary to protest against threats. The right of freedom and the right of religion also include the right to renounce religion."

At Tuesday's signing ceremony in The Hague, Jami will officially present his committee.

On Monday, a group of former Muslims publicly distanced themselves from Jami, denying people who renounce Islam are threatened by Muslim fundamentalists.

The group was particularly critical of the fact Jami is signing his Declaration of Tolerance on September 11.

By picking the anniversary of the terrorist attacks, Jami was effectively equating all Muslims with terrorists, the group told reporters.

[Copyright dpa 2007]

Subject: Dutch news

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