Prominent Dutch call for tolerance and respect

2nd January 2008, Comments 0 comments

Prominent Dutch call for more tolerance and respect in 2008 on the cover of Trouw on Wednesday.

2 January 2008

AMSTERDAM – Prominent Dutch call for more tolerance and respect in 2008 on the cover of Trouw on Wednesday.

Those who signed the advertisement in Wednesday's paper call for an end to the "downwards spiral of intolerance and indifference" in the Netherlands.

The Dutch public is called on to support the plea for tolerance and mutual respect by going to the website and posting positive examples of people getting along in society.

The action was launched after prominent Christian democrat CDA member and chairman of the secondary school council Doekle Terpstra called on the public several weeks ago in Trouw to fight the "Wilderisation" of society, criticising the right wing anti-Islam rhetoric of Geert Wilders.

Terpstra himself signed the pamphlet, as did 57 other well-known Dutch, including NOC-NSF chairperson Erica Terpstra, CDA politician Elco Brinkman and football trainer Foppe de Haan.

"The Dutch culture has traditionally been known to be open and tolerant," the statement reads. "This culture has come under pressure in the recent past. First we had the tendency to tolerate too much. Now intolerance is in danger of becoming the norm. It is high time that we return to the roots of the Dutch tradition and find a new balance between the values of then and those of now."

On the Radio 1 news journal Terpstra said that the call is not an action against politics, but instead called on politicians to embrace the initiative. "Politicians must join us." He particularly wants to see immigrant organisations participate in the initiative.

Freedom party faction leader Geert Wilders wants nothing to do with the group. He says those who are behind the action are "foolish and naïve." Wilders also called them "dhimmis", a word used to refer to non-Muslims who act submissive towards Muslims out of fear.

"Islam does not deserve respect, but must be fiercely battled as an intolerant and fascist ideology," the MP said in a reaction on Wednesday.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2008]

Subject: Dutch news

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