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Friday, 4 March 2016

To protect and serve

As was already expected the infamous Arab intolerance has now reached the Dutch asylum shelters: Christian and gay refugees no longer feel safe due to (death) threats from other Arab refugees. The majority of the Dutch parliament - in all its wisdom - has ordered the Dutch government to arrange for separate shelters for Christian and gay refugees. In order to protect and serve.

Ahmed Aboutaleb, the social democratic mayor of Rotterdam, disagrees with the views of his own Labour party. Essentially, he agrees with the liberal coalition partner in the Dutch government. His stance may help to depoliticise this sensitive issue. It helps that both coalition parties are well known for their support to the LGBT community.

Actually, Ahmed Aboutaleb is a gem in Dutch politics as he does not take classic political sides while most politicians are entirely predictable in their arguments and opinions. His arguments touch the heart of the matter when it comes to "protect and serve": "Don't do it. I think it is a very bad signal as you will isolate gay people as of Day 1". And also: "You should draw clear lines immediately. If this is what you want in this country then you should seriously wonder if this is your place" and he refers to refugees who threaten gays in asylum shelters. (eg, AD, NOS video, PowNed)

Essentially, Ahmed Aboutaleb's remarks are about how to deal with perpetrators and victims. Often the focus is on protection of victims rather than persecution of perpetrators. Perhaps because it is more difficult to prove guilt and perhaps because it is more easy to protect victims. Words like easy and difficult may be relevant to professional politicians but such words should never become our guiding principles in life.

We should not ignore the far reaching implications to our society of not persecuting perpetrators. Essentially, we allow or at least condone their behaviour - in Dutch: "gedoogbeleid". Indeed we protect the victims but we do not not protect our society nor serve our country in the long run.

Contrary to the Dutch, Germany and Norway give courses to refugees about how to deal with sex and women. The cartoon to the left is one of the 14 German cartoons that amused - and offended - foreign journalists and commentators.

I suspect that the Dutch government has no willingness to integrate the thousands of refugees and still hopes to see them leave in the next 5 to 10 years.

Europeans may be used to a public permissive society but Arabs in general are not. To them rules are rules and public permissiveness equals weakness rather than open mindedness. What goes on behind closed doors is something entirely else to them (eg, DailyMailGuardian, Independent). Essentially, we are watching a fundamental collision of cultures, not just religions. Our culture is worth protecting and serving. And it takes Ahmed Aboutaleb to point this out to us.

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