THE HAGUE, 03/05/06 – A Lower House majority wants an investigation of the scale of threats to ex-Muslims in the Netherlands who have converted to Christianity. Labour (PvdA), the Christian democrats (CDA) and small Christian party ChristenUnie want to know whether this is a matter of isolated incidents or a repeating pattern.
In written questions to Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner, PvdA MP Dijsselbloem and MP Huizinga of ChristenUnie urge an investigation, prompted by Monday’s broadcast of the TV programme Schepper en Co. This showed that Muslims converting to Christianity in the Netherlands are being intimidated and receiving death threats.
In some cases, the intimidation apparently takes place in asylum-seekers’ centres. Dijsselbloem and Huizinga therefore also want clarification from Aliens Affairs Minister Rita Verdonk. They are demanding that she inform asylum-seekers that they must not accept threats and intimidation.
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In Schepper en Co, an Iranian pastor said he has been receiving telephone threats. “If you do not stop evangelisation among Muslims, we will kill you,” he was given to understand. According to this man, he is no exception.
Afghans in asylum-seeker centres also say they are threatened. Some even say they have been beaten up. On return to their own country, they have to take account of the possibility that they would be murdered, they suggested.
Ayhan Tonca, chairman of the Muslims and Government Consultative Body (CMO), termed the stories of the ex-Muslims that spoke “shocking.” The CMO is the government’s official discussion partner on Islam and integration.