Netherlands ‘Halal Homes’ Ignite Religious Row

Anna Holligan, BBC News, December 11, 2012

Renovations in Amsterdam apartments—nicknamed “halal homes” in the press—have sparked a political row in the Netherlands.

About 180 apartments in Amsterdam have been given special makeovers which suit the wishes of Muslim residents. Features include individual taps that can be used for ritual cleansing before prayers and sliding doors to keep men and women apart.

Some right-wing politicians have been stirring up public opposition, warning that anyone asking for such modifications should “leave for Mecca”.

From the outside, the apartments look no different from other social housing blocks in the residential area of Bos and Lommer, in the less opulent western reaches of the capital.

Aynur Yildrim gives a tour of her home with the enthusiasm of an inspired estate agent. In the bathroom she bends to reveal the lowered water point—a modification that, in some variation, might equally exist in non-religious homes. But it is the perceived religious aspect of these changes that has made them so controversial.

And it is in the tidy kitchen that the distinction is most striking, as Ms Yildrim shows off the sliding doors.

“I wanted a closed kitchen, in order to be able to close the kitchen off now and then for a bit more privacy. Sometimes we like to be separated, the women on one side and the men on the other.”

Wim de Waard of the housing association Eigen Haard insisted that the changes were “absolutely not religiously inspired—they are just practical adaptations”. The adaptations followed consultations with local residents, including Muslim groups.

Mr de Waard stressed that apartments were not reserved for Muslims—homes were assigned on the basis of rank on the waiting list, size of household and income.

Wilders Outraged

For many Dutch people, living in a historically tolerant and liberal country, the idea of separating men and women has led to some criticism that these buildings are effectively condoning some kind of gender inequality.

The controversial anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders accused the Dutch authorities of subsidising a “medieval gender apartheid”.

He has publicly prophesied about an impending “ghettoisation” of Dutch neighbourhoods—not unusually strong words from a man who once appeared in court for his strident rhetoric. Mr Wilders was cleared of inciting religious hatred two years ago.

After a poor performance in recent parliamentary elections, Mr Wilders may be angling to woo immigration-conscious right-wing voters again with his strong, headline-grabbing statements. Recent opinion polls suggest that if there were to be an election tomorrow, his Freedom Party (PVV) would win.

A Dutch property developer and PVV supporter said he was “shocked” by the “halal homes” concept.

“It’s a ridiculous idea, I thought it was a joke,” he complained.

“It turns into reality. The rules of the Koran are discrimination, it is stimulating discrimination. It’s taking us back to medieval times.”

“These immigrants are from lower social classes, they’re not educated, they’re bringing those values to our Dutch society—the opposite should happen, they should adapt to our modern and free values.

We should teach them to integrate. This is backwards. What if it were on buses? If we were to separate men and women on buses it would be like discrimination again, here in the Netherlands. It’s crazy. I can’t believe it. It frightens me.”

Using tax revenue

But many residents in the area seem to accept that what their neighbours do in the privacy of their own homes is entirely up to them.

Tess lives in the same block and said: “A lot of new people arrived here lately, a lot of young people like me, so trust me, there’s no problem of ghettoisation.

“And there are a lot of exchanges between people from all nationalities, which makes life much nicer here.”

On internet forums, some users have made light of the renovations, with comments such as, “I believe in the power of disco, please can I have a disco ball built into my apartment?”

When I asked Dutch followers on Twitter why the opposition, they told me “it’s wrong that inequality should be subsidised by tax money” and that another country’s traditions “may be offensive to others”.

It is a debate over the public versus private spaces. When the public purse is used to part-fund modifications, which many see as the religious antithesis of traditional Dutch society, conflict emerges.

Public funding is actually in the form of a guarantee, the housing association says. Yet it is still perceived as a subsidy.

The housing association says the complex is completely mixed, that the homes have been renovated to improve their “rentability” and that it is just trying to keep everyone happy. Many would argue that that is a tough ambition to fulfil—whether in religion, politics or our private lives.

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  • Nicholai Hel

    On which side of the sliding door do gay Muslims go?

    • dukem1

      They go in through the out door.

  • Peter

    Your article doesn’t mention the most laughable of all Muslim requirements – that all toilet bowls be so oriented that the user does not expose his or her backside in the direction of the qiblah – the direction of prayer.

    • SintiriNikos

      The worst savage is the one who fancies himself as proper and clean. Btw, when words like qiblah and burqa and fatwa become part of the daily western vocabulary like pizza and sushi, we are losing the war.

      • StillModerated

        Does this burka make me look fatwa? No dear, you’re chador-able!

        • Tim

          Rim shot!

    • OlderWoman

      For crying out loud tell me you are joking.

      • StillModerated

        No joke, I’ve heard similar stories about Iran. The good news is that 2 toilets in my house back toward Mecca.

        • OlderWoman

          hahahaha….mine does also. i’m enjoying this. truly islam is mental illness squared.

  • Der Typ

    Silly Leftists… When will you ever learn? In the great game of diversity, multiculturalism is the ultimate trump card! It trumps all others. Women’s Rights? Sorry. Tolerance of Gays? nope. A traditional liberal society? Get outta here. Freedom of Speech? What are you jokin’.

    Grab a 6 pack and sit back a laugh at the idiots.

    • SintiriNikos

      What I wouldn’t do to see gladiator games between feminists, Islamists, and immigration enthusiasts and other globalist elites.

      • Michael_C_Scott

        Chain pairs of “contestants” together by their left wrists so nobody can run away.

        Winners each get a pitcher of beer and a “pork appreciation pizza” before their next fight.

    • StillModerated

      I’d like a pork pie and a side of bacon with my beer! Coming to think of it I’ll have a shot of Jameson’s for a chaser.

  • David Brims

    I don’t know which is a more pathetic, Eloi like nation, Sweden or Holland ?

  • NYB

    The way I see it, this will only end when we have a merciful economic collapse.

    At the close of World War 2, many Dutch and Germans were near starvation. If someone had proposed such suicidal frivolities as allowing Muslims to colonize Amsterdam and turn it into a replica of the Arab lands, he would have been given short shrift, if not physically threatened with bodily harm.

    The winter of 1945 really wasn’t that long ago. We need another lesson like it in order to reset our priorities.

    • John

      While the better part of me is deeply saddened, outraged, and appalled by the way our race (Whites) has laid down like sheep and obediently facilitated, financed, and voted for our own dispossession, I feel something more. Part of me is deeply gratified when I read about the leftist ideologies that are are confounded and confronted face-first with the unyielding demands of medival Islam.

      For example, imagine the conflict that egalitarians undoubtedly feel as they wrestle with their agenda of championing women’s rights while also striving to fully accommodate Muslims who believe that women have absolutely no rights.

      Imagine the conflict that they must endure when one of their pet groups is brutalized and dehumanized by another of their pet groups.

      Imagine the conflict when eveything that Islam represents is in direct contrast to the leftist views of egalitarians. The illogic of the problem must be overwhelming for them!

      For example, on the one hand, the common view in the west is that women MUST have equal rights across society. As the egalitarians work to overachieve that, they have to find a way to balance their equally-important view that Muslims MUST have disporportionate rights to fully express their religious views, freely and without reservation! Requesting they change and assimilate, of course, would constitute blanant racism, bigotry, and religions intolerance. We can’t have that!

      So, how do their thought processes work? “women are our equals… but Muslims have a right to subjugate and abuse women… but women have equal rights… but Muslims have… but women have… but Muslims have… (steam comes from their ears at this point)… can’t deny Muslim rights — racism!!! can’t deny women’s rights — sexism!!! can’t faciliate religious intolerance of Muslims!!! can’t faciliate sexual abuse of women!!! error! error! error! cannot compute!!!”

      Of course, race/ethnicity/religion usually determines the pecking order in such conflicts. For example, a Muslim man’s rights would trump a Christian White woman’s rights. And, of course, heterosexual White men are dead last on the list, which goes without saying.

      • WhiteGuyInJapan

        “Part of me is deeply gratified when I read about the leftist ideologies
        that are are confounded and confronted face-first with the unyielding
        demands of medieval Islam.”

        Same here. The multicultural ideology has more holes than a Cambodian highway. The White Liberal has this bizarre, painfully naive idea that all of these “oppressed” groups will unite. Mild sadism on my part likes watching them chase their own tail, making excuses. Of course, they can always just chalk it up to “racism”, which magically explains everything.

        These groups often do not unite and in fact bump heads with each other. Ghetto Blacks attacking Korean shop owners (who, in L.A., reciprocated with compound interest). Most non-Whites are solidly ethnocentric and only care about their own interests (fair enough).

        Only broad-thinking Whites bother with looking at the big picture. Then naively assume that non-Whites will do the same. Hmm..maybe Whites are missing part of the big picture.

  • mobilebay

    What is it that Muslims have or do that make people jump to placate them? Is it mass hypnosis or just fear of these savages?

  • IstvanIN

    If immigrants really add to the economy then why do they need “social housing”?

  • Michael_C_Scott

    It seems to me that the portable folding screens Orientals are fond of would work perfectly well, except the Muzzies would be expected to buy those themselves.

    • Der Typ

      You may be own to something too… If you think this is about a cultural show of force, as I do, then what’s better than getting them to change the building for you at no cost to you?

  • dave lewis

    This is disgusting, especially given the recent murder of soccer linesman Richard Nieuwenhuizen by two Moroccans and another youth from the Antilles. This incident happened on the field. Quote from a Dutch youth:

    There is a lot of publicity concerning this murder. This is, of course, because a much bigger problem is brought to light. Part of the problem is that, with the new “freedom of speech”, it’s frowned upon to say what is true: the truth is that AGAIN, foreigners eg. coloured non-westerners did it.

    Once more, a friendly, traditional part of our culture is being threatened by violent ethnic groups of Muslims and Blacks.

    The fact that initially there was at first some confusion whether it was two or three Moroccans that killed Nieuwenhuizen is because of this forced unwillingness of the media to be open about the ethnic background of the murderers.

    Now discussion going on about the influences of Moroccans and other aggressive non-Caucasians in our society as well as the unsettling decrease of respect annex increase of violence amongst citizens. I doubt whether it will go any further than some fearful talking, though. The age of hypocrisy and cowardice is here allowing the savages to do as they please.

    • Der Typ

      Thank you for confirming that for me. When I first read about this I looked high and low for a description of the assailants. I am fluent in German, which combined with my English knowledge allows me to look at Dutch and get a idea of what is being discussed, but I couldn’t find one description. I had a sneaky suspicion that stomping someone wasn’t standard Dutch behavior yet, as I have visited the Netherlands and felt very safe in the presence of the Dutch.

  • EW

    ““I wanted a closed kitchen, in order to be able to close the kitchen off now and then for a bit more privacy.”
    Actually, here I am with Muslims. I also like my kitchen separated from the living room, because I perceive it as a workplace and the living room as the place for relaxing.

    • Michael_C_Scott

      I do most of the cooking, and like to be able to hear what my five year-old is doing.

  • bigone4u

    It’s the backward muzzoid version of feng shui. Paid for by the taxpayers. Are the Dutch really so timid as to accept this crap?

  • I’m still waiting for the feminists to address this issue of Muslim men treating Muslim women like doormats.

    • OlderWoman

      Jay Leno’s wife was loudly protesting this several years ago. Haven’t heard any more from her. Perhaps the politically correct police got to her.