Is the Muslim religion a problem?

by Marthijn Uittenbogaard

This week a suicide bomber killed himself and over twenty other people too at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, UK. Ariana Grande is a beautiful young singer who gave a concert and when the show was over a blast was heard and we all know the tragic outcome: death and mourning. The suicide bomber was inspired by his religion: he was a Muslim and he had contacts with Islamic extremists. Sadly, nothing new to this because we see many Muslim related terrorists attacks in the Western World and even many more in a lot of Islamic countries.

A lot of people say such attacks have nothing to do with Islam. Because in the Koran, they argue, are text to proof this is not how a true Muslim should act. Well, this is nonsense because it's the Islam religion which inspired them so there you have the link. And besides this fact, there are many texts in the Koran that are extremely violent to people who are not Muslim.

Did we in the West always treated the Muslim World correctly? No, we did not. I will not go into this because it never justifies killing people at a concert. In the West there are many Muslim people living. Most of these people are immigrants or (grand)children of immigrants. We let them in. At fist to do our 'dirty' work. Society needed workers for hard unschooled labor and we imported people from Morocco and other countries. Also we let people live here who fled from a war in their home countries. This process is still going on because of the wars in Iraq, Syria, Libya and so on.

It is so that religious people usually have different opinions about women's rights, gay rights, about sexuality in general. Usually they are (far) less tolerant on these issues than non-religious people are. So with accepting many Muslim people in 'our' countries we introduced many conservative people too. People fought for gay rights while Christians were very against it due to their religious believes. The influence of Christianity is declining and so more tolerance can be seen in society regarding a lot a sexual issues. Pedophilia is one of the last straws people have left. Not only religious people but also the 'freed' ones are not free of negative (and even schizophrenic) feelings about sexuality. With the risen number of Muslims in our society gay people have more problems, and Jews too, or women wearing sexy clothes to name some things. So that's a problem. There are people who do some math and say it's not a problem because Muslims are not taking over: they will not become a majority. But when you are gay and one in ten looks in disgust or shouts at you (or worse) then the problem is a huge one. I'm not saying every Muslim or every Christian is against gay issues and so on, but on average they are more intolerant than people without a religion.

OK, so there is a problem. What about a solution.

Solution number one: throw all Muslims out of our countries. This 'solution' is popular by many people and Geert Wilders of the political party PVV is in favor of this solution. In the Netherlands people voting for PVV are the ones less tolerant about gay issues with the exception of our religious political parties. The PVV wants to get rid of many fundamental rights: abolish the Koran. Abolish organizations that have 'wrong' opinions, like Martijn Association for instance. And when you start entering peoples homes in search of a Koran or to get Muslims for deportation, then you are a huge problem yourself. I always think that most PVV supporters would be the Islamic fanatics if they would be born in Saudi-Arabia in stead of The Netherlands. Throwing people out of your country who live here all their lives and who in large numbers are absolutely not in favor of bombing innocent people is off course a cruel thing to do.

Solution number two: stop immigration from Islamic countries. This is something that the political party Forum for Democracy (FvD) wants. Pim Fortuyn, who was killed fifteen years ago said more or less the same: if I can arrange it juridical I will do it, but I'm afraid that is not possible. Knowing he would need to abolish one or more fundamental human rights. And he was in favor of a good juridical system with checks and balances and rights for victims as well for suspects too. He was not a far right politician as many people thought him to be. He was not a populist as many politicians in the last decades were: he had his own opinions no matter what other people thought. He was in favor of pedosexuality. A populist never is in these days. He wanted to have less immigration and at the same time he wanted a dialogue in society about this issue with opinion makers including Muslim people. Geert Wilders never wants a discussion with any Muslim (or with anyone). Geert Wilders is not a man of The Enlightenment; Fortuyn was. Geert Wilders is much more comparable with a man with extremist unbendable religious believes. Fortuyn wanted no Dutch Muslim to be deported out of our country. Fortuyn also stated that asylum seekers, who were here for many years waiting to get a permanent status could stay. The problem with letting no one in is that you say to people, for instance a gay refugee: go back (and get killed). It's barbaric. And I strongly believe that refugees who are welcomed in our country appreciate this and because of this accept (or tolerate) our ways of life more then kids from the so called 'Gastarbeiters'. I would like to see a study around this topic. A discussion about these issues was almost impossible in The Netherlands until Pim Fortuyn broke the discussion open. Many years before politician Hans Janmaat - an intolerant politician on many issues including on gay rights - was the only one daring to address this issue, but he was totally isolated (and scapegoated) by the mass media.

Other solutions: Wait and see, do nothing. Time heals many issues. Gay people were hunted hundreds of years and time saved them. But because of no one doing anything or did the gay movement speed up the results? I believe doing something has influence: good or bad. Doing nothing, maybe also is an active choice by the way.

Give money to Muslim organizations that are not extremist ones. This is happening for many years but the outcome is that countries who did not do this have a Muslim population with sort of the same believes as countries who gave them money and with this money: influence (in public debates). And there is also the problem with the separation of Church and State: the State must not stimulate religious believes. It still does, because Churches pay less taxes than non religious organizations. Well, except for the Multinationals like Apple and Microsoft... In The Netherlands last week, there was a proposal by a high police officer for letting Muslim police women wear a scarf on their heads. I'm strongly against such a thing, because the police uniform must be neutral. Like judges must wear neutral clothes. I'm even against the portrait of the Dutch King in every court room. Do we accept police wearing PVV-buttons, wearing Ajax-buttons? No we don't.

I think the solution has more than one answer. Always stand for human rights. For all people, in every country. Treat people not without respect if they are from another country or if they have less money. The rich countries do not own the world and they cannot do what they pleases. Criticize, and maybe do more than just criticize, countries that violate human rights. Even if they are rich like Saudi-Arabia, and even is they are our friends or we live in the country ourselves: USA or The Netherlands or whatever country. Always stand for human rights for all and do the human rights check, in stead of choosing sides with a group or a country and then be blind for the misdoings of this group and react standard with: well the other group is much worse.

Another thing is the segregation in our countries. Many Muslims go to Muslim schools. Like many Christians go to Christian schools. I myself was on Christian schools till the age of sixteen. I think this is indoctrination and schools must not be based on a religion. Abolish all schools based on religion for kids under the age of twelve. Kids cannot choose, we choose for them. Let not the parents choose but society as a whole. Learn kids about human rights values. About democracy, about all religions in the world, about sexuality, about identity, about peer pressure, about freedom of speech, freedom of association too, about everything important in life.

Can we do more? There are so many refugees and they are usually many years in uncertainty if they can stay in a country. Many years they are in a way treated like prisoners. That is not very human. Maybe we can built a totally new city in let's say Kurdistan where all refugees are welcome and where we protect that city. We can accept Kurdistan as a country and make such a deal with them. (I don't like the deal with Turkey we have made. Turkey is the boss over these refugees while Turkey is becoming a dictatorship, already is.) The city will be property of the United Nations and one day in the (hopefully not so far) future, when it's save (less religion), it will be given back to Kurdistan (if the people in a two third majority want this to happen though). Until that day, people have their own nation (under UN flag). Sort of like Hong Kong used to be, under British flag in China.

24 May 2017