Netherlands criticized for doing little to stop "Islamophobia" 2008-03-13 23:54:38   Print

    BRUSSELS, March 13 (Xinhua) -- The Netherlands comes under fire for its attitude towards Islam in a report by a monitoring committee of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), Dutch paper De Volkskrant reported Thursday.

    The Islamophobia Monitor, the first ever such report by the OIC,will be discussed by the 57 OIC member states at a summit in Senegal Thursday.

    In the report, which covers the period from May 2007 to March 2008, the Netherlands stands out in a negative sense.

    The OIC has informed Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen that the soon-to-be-released film by Dutch right-wing lawmaker Geert Wilders will have "serious repercussions which could get out of hand and will be difficult to control," the paper said.

    The OIC report describes Wilders' film as "an extremely provocative documentary" and says its screening is an "alarming development."

    Immediately after Wilders' announcement last year of plans to make the film, the OIC expressed "serious concern" to the Dutch embassy in Riyadh. It also wrote to the European Union, the Council of Europe, the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) requesting them to intervene.

    The OIC report acknowledges the Dutch government's efforts to contain anti-Islam sentiments, including Dutch government's condemnation of Wilder's call for the Koran to be banned and the official stance that "freedom of expression is not the freedom to insult others."

    But in the final conclusions about attitudes in the West, the OIC states that "such positive reactions do not lead to the necessary actions" because the West lacks the political will to tackle "Islam phobics."

    The OIC report incorporates the findings of the European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance released in February which was also critical about Dutch attitudes towards Islam.

    The "alarming" growth of Islamophobia in the West led the OIC to establish a monitoring committee in May 2007. The first report by the committee also recommends a counter-offensive in Western media.

Editor: Yan Liang
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