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Learning Something from a Dutch Gay Man

Posted by libhom Saturday, April 12, 2008

A recent conversation I had with a Dutch gay man really opened my eyes to a point of view on the difficult relationship between the Dutch majority and the Muslim majority. It is different than the racist stereotype (which probably applies in some cases), the views of American Christians who hate Dutch Muslims because they aren't Christian, and the claims of many on the European left about Islam and the West.

The Dutch have managed to build a largely secular society where women are free to have abortions (with government funding too) and queers are treated as equals. The Netherlands deserves a tremendous amount of credit for this achievement.

Many Muslim immigrants have attacked abortion and advocated outlawing it. Many Muslim immigrants make bigoted statements against lesbian, gay, bi, and trans people and advocate against equality for queers under the law.

There is a sizable segment of the Dutch population that just wants to keep their basic human rights. Also, immigrants have an obligation to respect the societies they move to. Immigrants certainly have a right to their own ways, but they are obligated not to impose those ways on the countries where they are guests.

When some on the left label this as "racist," it creates a credibility gap for the left partly because it fails to address the legitimate concerns Dutch people have. The credibility gap grows when one remembers that Islam is a religion that includes people of all races, not a race.

When some on the left attack secular values and government, they have lost their way. Religion is a reactionary force in society, and one of the most important projects of the left is to reduce the role of religion in the state and everyday life. It really doesn't matter what the religion is.

So much of what we read about in Europe is filtered through media that are extremely pro-religious and hostile to secularism. It makes it difficult to get any understanding of what actually is going on in the world.

1 Responses to Learning Something from a Dutch Gay Man

  1. Chandira Says:
  2. This is a really big problem in England, too.

    I consider myself a bit to the 'left', and ideally we should all get a say, but taking such crap from a bullying minority isn't what should be going on.

     

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