AMSTERDAM — Amsterdam mayor Job Cohen opens the first Ramadan Festival of the Netherlands on Tuesday.
Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende will also attend and recite a traditional wish for the Muslim month of fasting.
The festival begins at Meervaart in Amsterdam at 5.30pm. Under the motto ‘voices from the community’, Ramadan wishes from celebrities and ordinary Dutch people will be displayed.
The contributions will be delivered by people from all religious backgrounds and humanists.
The central theme of the Ramadan Festival is nurturing contacts and bounds between Muslims and non-Muslims.
Religious leaders from the Christian, Hindustani and Jewish communities will address the gathering with messages of understanding for Muslims in the Netherlands.
After the official opening, the participants will share a meal and hold informal discussions.
The murder of filmmaker Theo van Gogh in November 2004 by Amsterdam Muslim Mohammed B., 27, created tensions within society, but failed to spark a religious war – apparently one of B.’s aims.
Other events will be held across the Netherlands to encourage respect and dialogue between Muslims and non-Muslims.
For more information (in Dutch), see www.ramadanfestival.nl