Expatica news

Arab institute on way

18 July 2005

AMSTERDAM – The Amsterdam districts of Bos en Lommer, De Baarsjes, Oud-West and Westerpark will work together to establish a new institute for Arab culture.

Authorities will begin work on the centre in the autumn, and next year they will look for a suitable building on the city’s west side, H Luiten, the Bos en Lommer council chair, said on Monday.

The institute for cultural studies will be based on the famed Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris.

Its foundation is a response to what the district councils consider the ‘regular negative attention given in the Netherlands and Amsterdam to the Islamic religion and community’.

Luiten said the institute will host debates, exhibitions and educational activities for Muslims as well as non-Muslims.

‘There is not yet a place where free debate can take place on Islam and its various streams,’ Luiten said.

The first debate is planned for next autumn.

The centre will show works of art borrowed from museums in the Islamic world.

The educational activities will outline different streams of thought within Islam for young people.

In early June, Prime Minister Balkenende argued that such a centre should be established so as to foster integration. The Cabinet is reportedly willing to offer funding.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]

Subject: Dutch news