Dutch leads the world in containing semetic bigotry

Netherlands appears to be showing the world an elegant way of tackling semetic intolerance, especially of Islamic type. Two developments in recent weeks confirm this interesting developments. In the first week of June, a Dutch court reaffirmed their support to allow public debate over Islamic religion, which is typically avoided around the world fearing backlash from Muslim adherents. In the last week of June, Dutch government initiated a ban on the ritual slaughter of animals, withstanding the pressure from Jewish and Islamic relgious quarters.

Geert Wilders, the Dutch politician from the Freedom Party, was acquitted of hate speech charges by an Amsterdam court, which found that his inflammatory comments about Muslims were protected by rules governing discourse in a free society. bMr. Wilders, 47, had faced a possible one-year prison sentence on five charges of inciting hatred and discrimination against Muslims. He has become an important force in Dutch politics, making provocative statements including comparing the Koran with Hitlers Mein Kampf and calling for an end to Muslim immigration. Mr. Wilders made a short film Fitna in 2008 that portrayed Islam as inherently violent, and he joined Newt Gingrich in New York last year to oppose the building of an Islamic community center and mosque near the World Trade Center site.

Judges observed Mr Wilders comments as “rude and denigrating” and as “on the edge of what is allowed”, while acquitting the politician. Mr. Wilders’s supporters clapped as the judge concluded his remarks. The court gave the plaintiffs 14 days to appeal, but Mr. Knoops said the complainants had little ground for such action.

Ties Prakken, a lawyer who represented immigrant and antiracist complainants said she would instead bring the case to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in Geneva, accusing the Dutch government of failing to protect people from incitement to discrimination or violence.

Dutch government is set to ban ritual slaughter of animals. The new law requires that livestock must be stunned before being killed. The legislation was tabled by the tiny Dutch Party for the Animals but it quickly won cross-party support. The Freedom Party of Gert Wilders supports the bill. Muslim and Jewish ritual slaughte customs require animals to be fully conscious. Representatives of one million Dutch Muslims and 40,000 Jews have condemned the prohibition of halal and kosher meat as a violation of their religious freedom.

Sweden, Luxembourg and non-EU members Norway and Switzerland ban ritual slaughter but the EU, which bans the killing of non-stunned animals, allows religious exemptions.

Ritualistic killing in accordance with Islamic and Jewish customs causes unnecessary pain to animals. Religious freedom cannot be unlimited, according to the Animals Rights Party. “For us religious freedom stops where human or animal suffering begins.” The poltical move has bigger goal of influencing other countries to follow the suit. “By getting this modification in the law, we hope to inspire other countries.” Jews fear that pressure to ban ritual slaughter is growing across the EU. There has been a non-stop campaign by animal welfare activists to have all forms of ritual slaughter banned

Sources:

  1. Dutch Court Acquits Anti-Islam Politician Gert Wilders of hate speech charges
    Newyork Times   
  2. Dutch parliament votes to ban ritual slaughter of animals – Jews and Muslims are upset
    Telegraph

Swami Nigamanand dies after 115-day fast to save Ganga


Sadhu Nigamanand went on a fast unto death to protest against illegal mining on the bank of the Ganga in Haridwar. He started his fast on February 19 from Haridwar. On April 30, the district administration forcibly shifted Nigamanand – a seer at the Matri Sadan Ashram – to the Haridwar District Hospital as his condition started to deteriorate. But even then, he refused to touch food. On May 2, he entered into a coma. He was then shifted to Dehradun’s Himalayan Hospital and put on life support. Nigamanand, 34, finally died on Monday – almost four months after he gave up food. Swami Nigamanand died due to dehydration because of continuous fasting. The postmortem examination of his body will be conducted on Tuesday.

Christian groups oppose anticorruption movement by Baba Ramdev

Yoga guru Baba Ramdev, known for teaching Yoga and having millions of followers, has drawn church’s criticism for his ties with Right-wing groups infamous for attacking Christians.

Delhi’s Catholic Archbishop Vincent Concessao condemned the yoga teacher’s ongoing mass campaign which seeks to curb corruption as it is being supported by Hindu groups. The Archbishop, who actively participates in civil society movements, said he was sad to see and hear a known anti-minorities baiterSadhvi Ritmbara sharing the stage with Ramdev. “One also saw a large number of saffron clad men adorning the dais, raising questions in our minds whether it was a national movement or political and/or a religious movement”, Concessao said in a statement.

The Archbishop condemned the police crackdown but justified the questioning by police who had given permission to the yoga guru only to conduct a yoga camp. Concessao said he did not “support arm twisting methods or the agenda of clean governance to be usurped by politicians for their own political gains.”

“The incident shows the unholy mix of religion and politics” UCANEWS quoted Catholic Church spokesperson Dr. Babu Joseph as saying.

Samuel Jaikumar from the National Council of Churches in India, a body representing mainline Protestants, said Ramdev’s protest had a communal element to it as it was reportedly supported by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the country’s largest and most influential Hindu nationalist organization. “Real issues like corruption and black money have taken a back seat,” Jaikumar added.

Ritmbara is a prominent member of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) or the World Hindu Council. The RSS is the ideological mentor of India’s main opposition party, the Bharatiya Janata Party, which is aimed at promoting Hindu values. VHP is a religious wing of RSS and is active in opposing fradulent means adopted by Christian missionaries to lure Hindus to convert. VHP is also spearheading Ram Janmabhoomi movement to build a Ram temple at the birth place of Ayodhya.

Christian Rights groups say on an average around 200 incidents of attacks on Christians are reported each year and a majority of them can be attributed to groups like the World Hindu Council.

Ramdev, who has assets worth millions of dollars, is a Hindu leader promoting Yoga, Ayurveda and Vedas. He is demanding Indian government to bring back the illegal money to India and enact law providing for death penalty for corrupt officials. Over 100,000 people joined Ramdev’s fast-unto-death against illegal money stashed in banks abroad by corrupt politicians and tax evaders on June 4 in New Delhi. However, a police crackdown forced his followers to return in the night. Police also detained Ramdev. Hundreds of Indian-Americans followers across the United States also observed fast in support of Ramdev, who claims to give health and happiness to his followers and cure cancer and AIDS through yoga. Friday, 10th June 2011, was the seventh day of fasting by the 46-year-old yoga guru.

Source: Christian Post