From Friday's BBC News — Dutch reconsider Islamic values
The report is the fruit of three years' work by the Scientific Council for Government Policy (WRR), a think—tank in The Hague which advises the government.
It examines the evolution of thinking about democracy and human rights in a dozen Muslim countries, ranging from Egypt and Iran to Indonesia.
Jan Schoonenboom, a member of the council who supervised the research, says it highlights the variety and dynamism of Islamic activism.
While there are radical, jihadi trends, there are also more mainstream Islamic movements which are moving, albeit slowly, towards democratisation.
Us and them
The report has already been roundly attacked.
The Somali—born Dutch MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a well—known critic of Islam, has said it lacks professionalism and undermines free speech.
On the contrary, Mr. Schoonenboom told the BBC, by discussing Islam in this way the report is opening up serious debate and challenging widely—accepted stereotypes.
He and his colleagues take issue with Ms Hirsi Ali and others who say Islam is not compatible with democracy or women's rights or Dutch values.
Such generalisations, he says, are not just wrong but dangerous — creating a divide between us and them.
The report also looks at the topical issue of how the world should respond to the growing influence of Islamist groups such as Hamas in the Palestinian territories, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Hezbollah in Lebanon.
That's right. Pay no attention to persons who've lived and suffered under Islam and sharia. Pay no attention to those murdered in your own streets. Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain. Rather, trust your 'Scientific Council for Government Policy', by golly.
Just put 'scientific' in front and see if it sells.
Dennis Sevakis 4 23 06