Muslims face growing Islamophobia in Netherlands

Muslims living in the Netherlands face growing intolerance and the government must do more to fight discrimination, rights groups charged at the U.N. Human Rights Council on Tuesday.

Muslims face growing Islamophobia in Netherlands

Women who wear the Islamic headscarf, or men with beards, "are experiencing more and more problems because of increasing Muslim intolerance," a coalition of Dutch non-governmental organizations said.

"This is happening in all areas of public life: at work, in schools, and also in establishments such as cafes, restaurants and sports schools," they said in their submission to the council's review of the Netherlands' rights record.

The NGOs noted "a lack of interest at governmental level of in-depth studies and analysis about the effect of such stereotypes as well as to ensure the implementation of existing laws guaranteeing the principle of nondiscrimination" .

The Dutch government rejected these charges, telling the council it "strongly believes that real interaction between people of different backgrounds will help to combat discrimination and Islamophobia in the country."

"Respecting the freedom of Muslims to practice their religion is a key theme of integration policies and is in line with a long-standing tradition of freedom of religion in the Netherlands," Dutch Justice Minister Nebahat Albayrak told the council.

Far-right lawmaker Geert Wilders has fanned the flames of controversy again this year by making his own film, 'Fitna', which features violent imagery of attacks in New York and Madrid intertwined with Koranic texts, and has sparked outrage in the Muslim world.

Albayrak told the council that the Dutch government "strongly rejects the message of the film."

Last Mod: 16 Nisan 2008, 17:55
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