CDA leader, Wilders deny ‘Islam bashing’
11 April 2006
AMSTERDAM — Maxime Verhagen, the parliamentary party leader of the Christian Democrat Party (CDA), and MP Geert Wilders have angrily rejected a claim they are guilty of rabble-rousing in the debate over Islam and Sharia Law.
The accusation has been levelled against them by researcher Jan Schoonenboom of the Netherlands Scientific Council for Government Policy (WRR). Schoonenboom said Verhagen’s comments about Sharia Law are irresponsible. Verhagen responded by saying this was a malevolent suggestion.
The CDA politician said it is appalling that a member of the WRR is not basing his assertions on the facts. The WRR must deal with scholarship, not politics, Verhagen argued.
The WRR describes itself as an independent think tank for Dutch government. It advises government – asked and unasked – about a variety of themes in a long-term perspective.
On Wednesday, WRR chairman Wim van de Donk presents a report ‘Dynamiek in islamitisch activisme. Aanknopingspunten voor democratisering en mensenrechten’ (Dynamism in Islamic activism. Starting points for democratization and human rights). An English summary of the report will be available on the WRR’s website on Wednesday.
Schoonenboom has spoken out against Verhagen’s call to ban any political parties that advocate Sharia in the Netherlands. “We call for Islamic schools and Islamic parties as long as they adhere to Dutch law and Dutch values and norms. But we cannot tolerate Islamic lawmaking alongside the Dutch [law],” Verhagen said.
He expressed serious concern about the WRR’s contention contact should be made with Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Palestinian Territories. “These are terrorist organisations with which we must not negotiate. It is very strange the WRR would make political statements over this,” Verhagen said.
Wilders also criticised the WRR’s findings. The founder of the new Partij van de Vrijheid (Party of Freedom), Wilders has received dozens of death threats for his views on limiting immigration and his criticism of Islam.
Accusing the WRR of engaging in politics, he described the report as “naive and dangerous”.
“I maintain that Islam is incompatible with democracy,” he said and he accused the WRR report of imperilling his right to exist. The politician also questioned the statement by Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende that Islam is not a danger. “No danger? Islam is the biggest danger in the world,” Wilders said.
He wants Balkenende, a Christian Democrat, to explain his remarks about Islam made during a visit to Indonesia last week.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]
Subject: Dutch news