Justin Stares, Daily Mail, January 20, 2016
Asylum-seekers in Belgium are to be given lessons in civilised flirting so that they learn to respect women.
Tips such as ‘be funny’ and ‘make eye contact, but don’t stare’ have been listed in brochures to be distributed to refugee centres across the country.
Men are allowed to kiss other men, and prostitutes should be respected, the brochure states.
The guidance is an attempt to avoid a repeat of the New Year attacks on women in Cologne, Germany. The Belgian government admits there are ‘no fixed flirting rules’ but nevertheless gives pointers that might be useful.
‘In Belgium, everyone can chose his or her partner, whom he can meet through a friend, at a party, at work, at school, at university, at a sports club or on the internet,’ the brochure states.
Refugees looking to flirt should ‘laugh’. ‘Introduce yourself’; ‘start a conversation’; ‘be funny’ and importantly ‘don’t touch’.
Whistling at women is a risky tactic, the brochure states: ‘Some women find it funny, others don’t!’ If a women is wearing a ‘sexy’ dress, that doesn’t mean she wants to have sex.
Prostitution is not illegal in Belgium, but ‘prostitutes must be respected’. Polygamy and marriages involving an underage child are prohibited. A forced marriage is punishable by up to two years in prison and a Euro 2,500 Euro fine.
Two people of the same sex can marry, have sex and have children, the brochure states. Parents do not have the right to hit their children.
Non-consensual sex, even within a couple, is a punishable offence. Police will practice a ‘zero tolerance’ policy towards these crimes, asylum-seekers are told.
Guidance on the customary practice of kissing on the cheek–often a source of confusion for British newcomers to the country–is given with the aid of diagrams.
It is common for men to kiss other men on the cheek in public if they are friends, refugees are told, though in formal situations one should shake hands with both men and women. The brochure also includes a chapter on safe sex and sexually transmitted infections.
Belgium’s migration minister Theo Francken said he was ‘revolted’ by the Cologne attacks and promised to make asylum-seekers understand that men and women are equal. The nationwide campaign, to be rolled out in coming weeks, is based on a pilot project already underway in Antwerp.
Around 50,000 asylum-seekers have arrived in Belgium since the beginning of last year, many attracted by the country’a generous welfare system. There have been occasional reports of violence in refugee centres though few reports until now of opposition among local residents.