Dutch Government Proposes Teaching Islam in Public Schools
June 26, 2008
Dutch Government Proposes Teaching Islam In Public Schools
By BEILA RABINOWITZ and WILLIAM MAYER
June 26, 2008 - San Francisco, CA - PipeLineNews.org - Dutch Minister for Integration and Housing, Ella Vogelaar, who sparked controversy last year when she said she wanted to "help Islam take root in Holland," is supporting the efforts of Muslim district Councilman, Ahmed Marcouch, to teach Islam in the country's public schools.
According to Marcouch who heads a district with a large Muslim population, the children are subject to corporal punishment and anti-Western indoctrination in weekend mosque schools. He has called for an investigation and demanded that Islamic lessons be given in public schools under the ruse that there will be more oversight in that setting.
According to the Trouw newspaper:
"...Critics fear that Marcouch really wants to Islamize public education but he gets support from Vogelaar. Formally the possibility exists. The neutral character of the school won't be compromised. If the parents ask for it then the school must accede to the request, just as is the case with Catholic or Protestant parents with children in public school who make a request. In that case the Islamic studies will get a place within the regular school offerings and would be given lessons by teachers who are paid from the school budget. The school inspectors will monitor the quality of the lessons." [source, http://www.trouw.nl/hetnieuws/nederland/article1022842.ece/Onderzoek_naar_lijfstraffen]
Vogelaar and Marcouch are currently in discussions with the State Secretary for Education, Culture and Science, Sharon Dijksma, as to what type of investigation into the mosque schools is indicated, while seeking to introduce Islamic education into the public school curriculum.
The head of the Amsterdam Slotervaart district council, Ahmed Marcouch, has called for an investigation into the incidence of corporal punishment in Qur'an schools in the Netherlands. As a solution the district councillor is proposing that public schools provide an alternative by giving lessons in Islam. He argues that if the authorities promote a "soft" Islam, Muslim parents would then have an alternative to sending their children to fundamentalist Qur'an schools.
It was the second time in less than two weeks that Mr Marcouch called for religious instruction in public schools. In an interview in the Amsterdam daily Het Parool on 7 June, he warned that many Muslim pupils were turning to Islamic extremism because the only form of religious education available is from fundamentalist Qur'an schools. He argues that if, in their thirst for religion, youngsters fall into the trap set by an anti-democratic movement, it's the job of the authorities to take action. He therefore argues that public schools should offer some form of instruction on the Muslim religion to reduce the "schizophrenic" gap between the Qur'an lessons they receive at the weekends and the secular school system.
Condemnation Mr Marcouch received the support of fellow Labour Party member and Deputy Social Affairs Minister Ahmed Aboutaleb, but most of the party condemned his proposal as infringing on the separation between church and state. In April the extremist Imam Jneid Fawaz condemned him as a hypocrite and a wolf in sheep's clothing. Now fellow Labour Party politicians are saying the same.
In an article in Friday's de Volkskrant, Labour district councillors from his Slotervaart borough wrote:
"Marcouch's plans, which threaten to end the separation between church and state, are also leading to the demise of the Labour Party. Labour uses him as a PR instrument to represent the new moderate 'Dutch Islam'. We read and see Mr Marcouch, in discussion with the radical Imam Fawaz, appeal for a moderate form of Islam...Marcouch sees that many Moroccan youths cannot come to grips with the contrast between their Islamic education and the excess of freedom offered by our society. However, his biggest fear isn't that the youth's radicalise, but that they turn their backs to Allah."