Ex-politicians who converted to Islam in Netherlands slam double standards against Muslims

If you burn Israeli flag, it's antisemitism; if you burn rainbow flag, it's hate speech; but if you burn Quran, it becomes freedom of expression: Former politician

Abdullah Asiran  | 30.01.2023 - Update : 31.01.2023
Ex-politicians who converted to Islam in Netherlands slam double standards against Muslims

ROTTERDAM, Netherlands

Attacks against Islam's holy book, the Quran, are hate crimes, said some former far-right politicians who converted to Islam in the Netherlands, adding that Muslims are subjected to double standards.

Former politician Arnoud van Doorn, who left the extreme right-wing Freedom Party in the Netherlands and converted to Islam, told Anadolu that he finds leader of Pegida -- an Islamophobic movement -- Edwin Wagensveld's action against the Holy Quran "outrageous."

On Jan. 23, Wagensveld in The Hague shredded some pages from a copy of the Holy Quran and then burned them.

This is a situation that hurts and humiliates Muslims, Van Doorn said, noting: "It is very strange that this is allowed, especially in times of polarization in the Netherlands. The state should bring ethnic groups together instead of constantly humiliating and marginalizing an ethnic group."

He underlined that the action should be considered hate speech in the entire EU.

"As you know, there is a double standards against Muslims. If you burn the Israeli flag, it becomes antisemitism; if you burn the rainbow flag, it is hate speech. They are all provocative, they are all criminal offenses. But if you burn the Quran, harm it, or make fun of it in any other way, then that is freedom of expression," he said.

"In this way, you set ethnic backgrounds against each other and create hatred," he added.

Urging both politicians to stand up and condemn this action and the mayor to use all means to ban such a meeting, Van Doorn said allowing such incidents under police protection would create the perception that such actions can be done "very easily" with impunity.

"What is the next step? Will the Quran be burned, windows of mosques broken, mosques set on fire, Islamic schools attacked, and Muslim children beaten? What is the limit?" he asked.

Governments should say that they do not tolerate this for any religion, Van Doorn noted.

Islamophobia becomes 'huge, growing problem'

Joram van Klaveren, a former Freedom Party MP who became a Muslim while writing an anti-Islamic book, said Pegida constantly provokes Muslims.

Insulting a religion in the Netherlands was a criminal offense until 2014, van Klaveren said, adding that the police prevention of Torah burning last week in front of the Israeli Embassy in Stockholm seems to show that permission for such incidents is given depending on which holy book is subjected to the act.

Burning sacred books not expression of opinion, but of hatred

A press release by the Dutch Jewish Dialogue Committee said the burning of a sacred book was not an expression of opinion, but an expression of hatred.

Such acts aim to set people against each other and they are "disgusting," the committee said, voicing solidarity with those affected.

Recent attacks on the holy Quran in Sweden, the Netherlands and Denmark have drawn condemnation from Türkiye and many other countries.

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