Queen stresses equality for all

12th November 2004, Comments 0 comments

12 November 2004 , AMSTERDAM — During a meeting with young Moroccans in Amsterdam, Queen Beatrix has emphasised the equality of all in a bid to help restore Dutch social harmony following the murder of Theo van Gogh last week.

12 November 2004

AMSTERDAM — During a meeting with young Moroccans in Amsterdam, Queen Beatrix has emphasised the equality of all in a bid to help restore Dutch social harmony following the murder of Theo van Gogh last week.

Amsterdam Mayor Job Cohen said on Wednesday the Queen had rang him to ask how she could contribute to solving the present crisis in the Netherlands. She had also wanted to express her concern over the situation, he said.

Queen Beatrix visited Moroccans in a multicultural youth centre in Amsterdam West. The young people were meeting at the centre to establish a "think tank" which will advise the Amsterdam Council on issues affecting the city's youth.

The Queen's unannounced visit was prompted by the death of Van Gogh and the unrest it caused. The arrested suspect, Mohammed B., 26, comes from Amsterdam West, as do several other Islamic terrorism suspects arrested in connection with the murder.

And once seated between Cohen and Social Affairs Alderman Ahmed Aboutaleb at the youth centre on the Overtoom, the Dutch monarch listened behind closed doors to a discussion waged between the young people.

The discussion — which was initially based on several propositions — eventually turned into a spontaneous conversation, also involving Queen Beatrix, news agency nu.nl reported.

When the meeting was opened to the public, the Queen was presented with a list of 18 points advising how the Netherlands should move towards the future. Point one said that terrorism will not be tolerated.

The young people taking part also suggested authorities should investigate the causes of extremism and that a mentor system should be established involving family members. Present community projects should also be intensified and expanded, they said.

The Government Information Service (RVD) had indicated Thursday that the Queen would soon demonstrate her involvement in efforts to ease tensions in society, Dutch public news service NOS reported.

The announcement came amid demands for Queen Beatrix to urge for public reconciliation. Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende later said the Queen was sympathising with all those affected by the series of mosque and church arson attacks committed in the aftermath of Van Gogh's murder.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news

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