Ramadan 2009 has come and gone, and our Flemish correspondent VH has compiled a brief report about the celebration of Eid ul-Fitr in the Netherlands. The following three culturally enriched excerpts are translated from articles in De Telegraaf.
First, from Amsterdam:
Free transport for Muslims in Amsterdam
Muslims in parts of Amsterdam on September 20 were provided with free taxi rides so that they would be able to visit family members during the Islamic Sugar Feast [Dutch euphemism for Eid ul-Fitr].
The municipal [majority Socialist] government decided on this measure to prevent disorder at roadblocks. Amsterdam had a car-free Sunday on September 20, and that is exactly the day of the end of Ramadan, on which Muslims en masse visit each other’s families. On that day almost the entire area within the A10 highway ring was prohibited for motorists.
[Note: On the same day Jewish citizens celebrated Rosh Hashana, but there were no free taxi rides for them.]
Sixty young people thrown out from Amsterdam cinema
On Sunday evening the police evacuated the entire Pathé de Munt cinema in Amsterdam. According to a spokesman, about sixty people, including several dozen youngsters, caused inconvenience. The police eventually arrested three people for defamation, disturbance of the public order, and destruction.
The youngsters were guilty of conduct “that you do not want to have here if you want to watch a film undisturbed,” a police spokesman stated. Officers who were alerted therefore evacuated the entire cinema at around half past eight in the evening. The audience left the building through the side entrance and were then directed to the nearby Rembrandtplein. For the rest of the evening the cinema stayed open to visitors.
It is unclear whether the youngsters were in the cinema to celebrate the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. Traditionally, many Muslim youth go to the movies then. This has previously led to problems in Amsterdam cinemas.
According to a spokesman, the Pathé cinema had deployed extra security. “This happens every year during the Sugar Feast.”
In Rotterdam, there was more trouble at the movies:
Also problems in the Pathé cinema in Rotterdam
In Rotterdam this Sunday evening, the police cleared out dozens of youngsters from the Pathe cinema at the Schouwburgplein [in the city center]. The group threw popcorn around, made noise, and by doing so made it impossible for other visitors to watch the movie. This happened in more than one screening hall.
After being moved out of the cinema, the youths continued being a nuisance in the square in front of the cinema, where they insulted the police and threw objects at them. One [enriched] “Rotterdammer” was arrested for defamation.
The Pathé cinema then closed at 20.30 and stopped screening all movies.
At the Sugar Festival many Muslim youngsters traditionally go to the movies. This has led to problems in the past in cinemas: “The Muslim youths go out then en masse, so it seems logical that here and there some small incidents might occur,” a spokesman for Pathé said.
For a complete listing of previous enrichment news, see The Cultural Enrichment Archives.