People should form a national freedom coalition to oppose the influence of radical political Islam, Dutch health minister Edith Schippers said in a lecture on Monday.
‘It is time that we – all Dutch people who love our culture, freedom and social contract – stand up to actively defend our achievements,’ she said, giving the prestigious Hendrik Jan Schoolezing speech in Amsterdam.
She warned that fundamental rights are at stake, particularly of gay men, transgender people and women, ‘including Muslim women who are trying to win more freedom,’ reports the Volkskrant.
Schippers, a member of the VVD Liberal party, said she decided to talk about political freedom rather than health due to her fears about the society her 11-year-old daughter is growing up in, where ‘we have confused tolerance with indifference.’
She said instead of debating whether or not women should or should not wear headscarves or burkinis, we should focus on freedom for all. She warned of ‘creeping self-censorship’ in schools where teachers no longer dare to be openly homosexual and the Holocaust cannot be discussed. ‘Who still dares to write books critical of Islam, draw cartoons or make films?’ she said. ‘Cultures are colliding. This is where our society’s core values are insidiously affected.’
Schippers proposed blocking money from Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iran to Dutch Islamic schools and mosques, promoting the rights of Muslim women who feel ‘trapped and unable to work’ and tackling inequality issues head on rather than banning organisations and closing borders.
Her speech, as Dutch political parties launch their manifestos and gear up for a general election in March 2017, contrasts with the harder line of prime minister Mark Rutte.
Following Geert Wilders’ anti-immigration PVV’s campaign list calling for a ban on the Koran, refugee centres, mosques and Islamic Schools, Rutte admitted on Monday that he ‘hated’ the idea of a multicultural society. He added that when he saw a clip of Dutch Turks taking to the streets of Rotterdam to celebrate the failure of the recent coup against Turkey’s Erdogan government: ‘My first thought is: get out of here. Go back to Turkey.’
However he said to Zomergasten television programme that closing every mosque in the Netherlands would threaten ‘the rule of law’ and ‘couldn’t see [a coalition between his VVD and the PVV] happening’. The PVV is currently leading in the polls, although support has dropped from an all-time high earlier this year.
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