By Abdullah Asiran
AMSTERDAM (AA) – A group of scholars and lawyers have drawn attention to rising Islamophobiac tendencies in the Netherlands.
In a book titled Target Mosque [Mikpunt Moskee], 12 academics and legal experts have jointly documented concerns within the Muslim community over aggressive actions against mosques.
“The freedom of religion for Muslims in the Netherlands is under lot of pressure,” Ineke Van der Valk, a researcher at the University of Leiden and one of authors told Anadolu Agency.
Published under the aegis of the Research Center of the Islamic Foundation of the Netherlands (ISN), the book talks about issues concerning the Muslim community and attacks against places of worship.
“In recent years, we have seen aggressive actions against mosques,” said Van der Valk, who specializes in racism, extremism, ethnic relations and diversity in multicultural societies.
“There are concerns within the Muslim community due to such actions,” she added.
She said that prosecutors so far have begun legal proceedings against in 27 cases of arson and vandalization in mosques, but only a couple of attackers were charged of discrimination.
“We hope that there will be more awareness among judges and thereby improvement of legal process on this issue.”
She further said that while authorities are accepting applications for the construction of new mosques, but the process of granting permits is very slow.
Van der Valk stressed that politicians were paying little attention towards attacks on mosques. She said: “Our goal is to warn politicians and insist that they act against attackers to prevent aggressive actions against Muslims all over.”
She expressed the need to uphold democracy in the society at the highest level, while protecting fundamental rights of citizens. “We are trying to bring research works and reports, highlighting Islamophobia and discrimination, to the attention and agenda of the European Union.”
She also explained that everyone in Netherlands was not against Islam. She said the book has emphasized the role and importance of mosques towards positive societal contribution.