Our Flemish correspondent VH reports on a recent interview with a Christian Democratic candidate which is causing a lot of controversy these days in the Netherlands. The Dutch CDA is sending a party member to Brussels who is anti-Israel, anti-Western and pro-Islam.
First, a translation by VH from Elsevier:
Dutch Christian Democrat (CDA) candidate is anti-Western and pro-Islam
By Afshin Ellian
[Photo caption: Election Poster of CDA candidate Rena Netjes]
On whose behalf are the political parties in the European parliament? The answer is simple: on behalf of the voters. For example, the Dutch Christian Democratic party (CDA) representatives in the European Parliament represent the Dutch who have voted for the CDA.
Are they doing that? This is difficult for us to determine. We are insufficiently informed about the ins and outs of the European parliament.
Fortunately, we are informed by the website of the Salafist As Soennah mosque in The Hague. It is the mosque of Imam Fawaz. That imam with Dutch nationality who does not speak Dutch.
Fawaz is also the imam who a few weeks before the murder of Theo van Gogh, cursed both van Gogh and Ayaan Hirsi Ali. In short, an imam with a service record.
The website of Imam Fawaz had an interview with a CDA candidate for the European parliament. Rena Netjes is on the list of candidates for the CDA in the European elections. She is also a member of the fraction of the CDA in the Municipal Council of Amsterdam.
Netjes studied on the Middle East. She loves the Middle East and therefore she goes there every month. “I find it very pleasant there. I enjoy that world a lot.”
“I love Lebanon and Egypt the most. My husband is Egyptian, which of course also plays a role,” according to Rena Netjes. Why is she in politics? “I want us to live with each other in a positive way.”
Why does she want to represent CDA voters in the European parliament? Read her answers carefully, let this get through to you:
“I am asked that question more often. I see that the tensions have increased since the attacks of September 11. The reason for this lies more within the politics in the Middle East. […] What amazes and annoys me is the thought that Bush and Blair have sent into the world, namely: “They are coming here to attack our democracy.”
“Then I think: ‘No, the people in the Middle East are especially angry because of the interference in their countries and on the dictators who are not building their countries the right way, and our support to such regimes. And secondly of course the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that goes from bad to worse.’”
Unbelievable! The CDA has someone on the list of candidates who, as a representative, does not want to represent CDA supporters but Middle Eastern anti-Western sentiments.
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But the CDA has nothing to do with that. At least, I hope they do not have anything to do with that. Why do Muslim terrorists commit attacks? The CDA candidate Rena Netjes has a well thought-out answer to that:
“I often say to people who might at first not agree with my views that when those people would like to attack our way of life or our democracy, then why did they not commit terrorist attacks in, for example, Tokyo, Shanghai or Oslo? Why in the United States, Great Britain and Madrid? Why precisely in those three countries which interfered in the Middle East? They have no answer to that.”
Thus the Americans, Spaniards, and Britons have to blame themselves for the attacks.
In her answer, we see how she inevitably suffers from indoctrination. Why were the terrorists attacking Bali (in Indonesia)? Why does Al-Qaeda kill thousands of Iraqis? Why did Al-Qaeda a few years back want to commit an assault on the Christmas Market in Luxembourg?
No, it’s really too absurd to answer this lady with arguments and facts.
What in fact do we see here? Her husband the Egyptian. He has succeeded in overhauling this Dutch women into an anti-Western figure. This is also reflected in her answer on Israel. She is of the opinion that the association treaties (especially on trade) with Israel should be suspended.
All day I have been struggling about whether or not I should vote for the CDA. Thanks to Rena Netjes I know that I must not vote for the CDA. Because if I do that, my vote will also go to someone who is extremely anti-Western, anti-Israel, and pro-Islamic.
VH also notes:
The Christian Democrat party (CDA) is the party of the Dutch Prime Minister Jan-Peter Balkenende and the Minister of Justice Ernst Hirsh Ballin, who both are in a vendetta against Geert Wilders. The Al-Yaqeen interview with the CDA Euro candidate Rena Netjes of follows here:
1. Rena Netjes, can you tell us something about yourself?
I was born in a small town in the province of Overijssel and went to Amsterdam to study Arabic and Hebrew. In those days I often read about the Middle East, about the kidnappings in Beirut. In order to earn some money, I started teaching in Amsterdam. After my studies I started a business in language training.
I am a regular visitor to the Middle East and also have studied there. These days I am there every month. I find it very pleasant there. I enjoy that world a lot. I love Lebanon and Egypt the most. My husband is Egyptian, which of course also plays a role.
I have been active in the CDA Youth (political organization). Then in district De Baarsjes in Amsterdam and now in the Amsterdam city council where I oversee three committees. The main reason why I am now active now in Amsterdam is because I am really concerned about how groups of people living alongside each other have all kinds of thoughts about each other and perhaps are even afraid of each other. I want us to live with each other in a positive way.
2. Why this switch to European politics?
I am asked that question more often. I see that the tensions have increased since the attacks of September 11. The reason for this lies more within the politics in the Middle East. I can do something about those tensions in Amsterdam, but something must be done to the roots of the tensions.
What amazes and annoys me is the thought that Bush and Blair have sent into the world, namely: “They are coming here to attack our democracy.” Then I think: “No, the people in the Middle East are especially angry because of the interference in their countries and on the dictators who are not building their countries the right way, and our support for such regimes. And secondly of course the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that goes from bad to worse.”
At present I also have other tasks at a municipal level, such as traffic and safety, but I would prefer to have to work on this issue full-time. And I think that with my background I have an advantage, because amongst other things, I can talk with the people there in their own language.
I often say to people who might at first not agree with my views that when those people would like to attack our way of life or our democracy, then why did they not commit terrorist attacks in, for example, Tokyo, Shanghai, or Oslo? Why in the United States, Great Britain and Madrid? Why precisely in those three countries, which interfered in the Middle East? They have no answer to that. And Christianity is much closer to Islam than the religions that are adhered to for example in Tokyo or China. So if they wanted to attack religion, then they rather would have done that in those countries.
3. Some problems we have to deal with in the Netherlands, have to do with problems in the Middle East. For example, the foreign policy towards Israel. If people vote for you, will there be a change in this attitude?
I am for the suspension of association agreements, which are trade agreements with advantages for Israel, as long as there is no independent Palestinian State. Israel depends for 80% of exports to the EU, so we actually really can make a fist if we want to. If we as the CDA stand for human rights and justice, then it is not just for one country and not for another. And this standpoint I now carry out within my party.
The Christian Democrats are a large block within the EU, but there is not one Middle East Specialist. Through my study and because I am often in the Middle East, I also have learned to know “the other side”. That is what you will not become familiar with here. Because you follow the Arab media, you see the other side of the story. In the Netherlands we see only one side of the story and that is not fair. We need to look at both sides of the story.
4. What do you think of the current political climate in the Netherlands?
The item that concerns me most is the movement to the right and the rise of the PVV (of Geert Wilders). If we look at the movie Fitna of Wilders, then we see that he equates Islam with violence and that as a Muslim you can just suddenly blow up or something. As a result there is a symptom control and there is no look into where that anger comes from.
5. We see now that some parties refuse to govern with the PVV. How should politics react to this according to you?
The PVV is not even a democratic party. You should not want to be in a Government with that. This is one. And two is that I do understand that other parties out of strategic considerations do not want to say that out loud, because we all have seen what has happened in Belgium with the cordon sanitaire around Filip Dewinter. He has grown enormously because of that.
6. If Muslims were to vote for you, what can they expect of you in Europe?
I can do something about the image building, because I can read the Qur’an, know Islam and follow the Arab media. When you then see all those discussions and issues pass by in the European Parliament and there is constantly someone with knowledge around, you can intervene and say: “Hey, that is not right.” And that is what I am now doing in the Amsterdam City Council. I am making a tough stand against discrimination and racism.
I want to stand up for the Muslims, because I find all of what is happening awful. and this must stop. I will stick out my neck out for you. What is happening now is just wrong.
7. What does the Islam mean to you?
Islam is practiced in very diverse ways in the world. Moreover, there is also one thing and another proclaimed in the name of Islam, but that happens also with Judaism and Christianity. But what I know of Islam is that the respect for the parents and the elderly, for example, has a high priority. I honestly find it cozier in those countries than in the Netherlands. What I also appreciate is that Muslims deal very seriously with their faith and have great respect for God.
8. Does religion play an important role in your life to you as a Christian Democrat (CDA)?
Sure. I can only do what I do and enjoy life because my Creator allows me so. And I am also very grateful for everything I receive and am allowed to do. My husband is Muslim and I have never met such a respectable man in the Netherlands as I have found in him … but they certainly will be there though …
9. What do you find of the screaming that the Islam would suppress women? That would mean that you are also being suppressed.
Well, may I also draw attention to the fact that the opposite is also true. My husband does the ironing for us and more, and I do nothing in the household at this time during the campaign. Further it is true that Muhammad introduced a number of women’s rights that previously did not exist.
I think it very much varies by person and culture. If you look around in Egypt, you will see that both Muslims and Christians have the same habits.
Let me introduce another surprising element: in Egypt you have more female professors than in the Netherlands. Pakistan, Turkey and Indonesia have had a female prime minister. In the Netherlands this has not yet occurred. In Saudi Arabia the situation is of course different again, but even there you have a lot of successful businesswomen. I think the problem mostly lies with women themselves; they do not address their rights enough. For men will not easily give up…
10. As a website, we aim at both Muslims and non-Muslims to explain what Islam is. As you hopefully will do in the European Parliament. What do you think of this endeavor?
This is of course a very good effort. There is much ignorance and there are also many misunderstandings about Islam. That is what I notice continuously. It is also asked of me if I can walk on my own in the streets of Cairo or whether I must walk around in a garment in Lebanon, while the Lebanese girls are often look more modern than Dutch girls.
11. It is often said that Muslims in the Middle East can learn from what the Western society. You have been many years in the Middle East. Are there maybe things that Westerners can learn from them?
Yes, certainly. We were just for example talking about habits. Many people think that female circumcision is something from Islam, but we see it nowhere in the Qur’an. In Egypt, both Muslims and Christians practice it. In fact, it originally came form the Pharaohs. That is what people in the West are hardly ever aware of.
What the West could further learn is that we must pay more attention to each other and have to live together more. A practical example that I personally encounter is that if I walk with heavy stuff, then I notice hardly anybody offers help. But when I am the Middle East, I am approached form all sides with offers for help. And if this does happen in the Netherlands, then it usually is a foreigner who does so. An eye on the other, that is what strikes me.
Respect for parents and older people, stand ready for another and open up towards each other and not living so individually in your own world. It is difficult to find that in the Netherlands. I find the public life in Egypt more pleasant.
I also worry about binge-drinking in the Netherlands. Drinking alcohol is getting completely out of hand with youth. In that case I would prefer people not to drink alcohol at all. If that gets out of hand, and also with drugs, I would prefer someone who does not drink a drop of alcohol.
Because I live in both cultures, my eyes also open to certain things, and I also see things earlier than someone who only lives here. Also with regard to clothing for example. A little more neat for instance. And keep an eye for each other a bit more.
12. You say that in those countries they are more social than they are here [in the Netherlands]. Men and women in most of these countries do not shake hands. Do you think it really leads to problems there and that we here in the Netherlands must oppose that at all cost? Or you say that we should respect those people’s feelings and to assess them on their functioning, and thus there should be room for this?
As far as I am concerned the latter, and also a practical argument: most diseases are transmitted because we shake hands. I am not going to make a bit point of it. It is about people being able to function in the Netherlands, that they know the language, that they stand in their own two legs, have a job and prefer to fully join society and in another way still contribute to society to improve it.
The question is whether a person should integrate or assimilate. In the Netherlands one moves increasingly to a demand assimilation. And I always say: “How then is it with those Dutch abroad? Do they adapt? Do they speak the language even though they already live there for twenty years? Do they bring their children to an Arabic school?” Oh no, they just bring their children to a Dutch school. Only one out of a hundred speaks Arabic. In terms of clothing they also do not or barely adapt.
13. Finally, we have often heard many promises. Why should Muslims have confidence in you that you that you do keep yours?
People only need to Google my name and they can find everything I that I have done in the past. I am also on TV programs in the Middle East. I try to create understanding both ways. It is also more convenient for me to stand for Muslims than it is for someone with a Muslim background. When such a person one might think he has another agenda. Apart from that, I also understand the thoughts of the native Dutch, so I can more easily “deal” with them. I understand both feelings well and I have united both worlds in myself.