Monday, August 13, 2007

An interesting discussion in the Netherlands these days...

"Bos's treatment of Jami is shameful"

13 August 2007

Liberal VVD leader Mark Rutte thinks it "outright shameful" how Labour PvdA leader Wouter Bos has treated fellow PvdA member Ehsan Jami, the chairman of the committee for ex-Muslims. Bos publicly voiced his disapproval of Jami's committee on Friday, saying that his party could not support an organisation that "insults Muslims."

The PvdA is the only party that "unequivocally stands up for the right to turn away from one's faith, even if that is Islam," Bos said. "But the PvdA will not stand behind a committee that thinks that the way to achieve that is by insulting or hurting people because of their faith."

Bos also said that "talks with Ehsan Jami have not all progressed smoothly over the past months. A number of party members have tried to make contact with him, that did not always succeed." Bos's statements on Friday came in response to accusations from Jami that the PvdA has not lent him the support he feels he deserves.
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Jami said on Friday he did not want to comment on Bos's statements. "He is choosing to keep things calm after the hectic past few days. He will come back to this matter at a later date," a spokesperson for Jami said.

VVD leader Mark Rutte says he talked to Jami on the telephone and pledged him his support. The two will meet next week. "The freedom of religion emphatically includes the right to turn away from one's faith," Rutte said.

"Jami's committee calls attention to this, and rightfully so, and the committee itself demonstrates the difficult position in which ex-Muslims often find themselves. The fact that Wouter Bos has let him fall so hard just underscores his party's weak attitude in the integration debate once again," Rutte says.

His spokesperson denies that Rutte is trying to persuade Jami to leave the PvdA and join the VVD, as former MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali did.

Jami has had extra security since last Monday after being assaulted just over a week ago for his fierce criticism of Islam.

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