Friday, September 25, 2009

Tax on Headscarves...Yes, Really

I'm sure a lot of you have heard about Geert Wilders, an infamous far-right Dutch politician who made the film "Fitna" and is responsible for a lot of anti-Islamic sentiment in Holland. He has compared the Qur'an to Mein Kampf by Hitler, and has also suggested it be banned in Holland. His latest bright idea is to introduce a tax on headscarves.

When I first heard about this my gut reaction was laughter, followed closely by shock. I mean seriously?! Tax women who wear headscarves?! His suggestion was a 1000 euro tax (!!) because he sees headscarves as something that "pollute" the streets. He also speicifed that it would ONLY apply to Muslim women who cover their hair, and not Christian women who do the same. So it's obviously blatantly discriminatory.

To make things worse, he said all money from this tax would go to women's emancipation programmes. It's pretty clear then, what he thinks the headscarf means. In the past he has pushed for an outright ban on headscarves, because he sees them as the ultimate form of oppression for women.

Some quotes from the eloquent politician:

"It is time 'to clean up our streets. This is pollution of public spaces. Let us do something about this symbol of oppression."

"We have had enough of headscarves."

"If the tax is introduced we are finally going to earn some money back from the Islam."

he mosques, headscarves and Muslim men with beards and long dresses pollute the cityscape."

So yeah, you can see what kind of man we're dealing with here. The sad thing is that he's very popular. His party has the most support in Holland, and elections are coming up in 2012, where he's likely to win the majority of seats. If that isn't dangerous I don't know what is.

The only silver lining is that his proposal was met with ridicule and intense opposition in parliament. But what about on the Dutch street?


NoortheNinjabi said...

The situation with Ol' Geert reminds me a lot of the fringe republicans in the US. InshaAllah the Dutch population wakes up to the real world, instead of trying to keep their streets "pure."

(Btw, how was he planning to tax hijabs? Everytime they see one, write a ticket? What if people got taxed more than once? Would it be like an underage drinking ticket in the US, where the young person only has to show their ticket and they're no longer eligible to receive another one?)

Anonymous said...

This man is so ridiculous it makes it hard for me not to think he does all of this for attention and to put on a show more than to be truthful.

He is so blatantly racist I don't understand how he will be allowed to even run in 2012!

Comparing the Quran to Hitler's book?

This man is a fundamentalist extremist. Just as Muslim extremists hate all of the West for everything it symbolizes, good old Geert hates all Muslims for the exact same reason.

What a hypocrite, everything he claims to hate so much is everything that he is.

Stacy aka Fahiima said...

What a joke! I think this should make him lose any last shred of credibility that he has. I can only hope.

Jaz said...

No comment!

Okay I have a comment - ridiculous! What else can I say? It doesn't even warrant a response it's incredibly silly. This guy can't be very credible in Parliament?

Stephanie said...

This guy is seriously scary. He compares the Quran to Mein Kampf yet his hatred and racism rings of fascism. He is just one step away from rounding up Muslims into ghetto's and camps. Don't blow this guy off. If he comes into power, it will mobilize and embolden every anti-Islamic politician out there. What seems like a joke could become a nightmare.

nadia said...

He needs help. Seriously.

cairo, lusaka, amsterdam said...

Noor - LOL @ 'Ol Geert!
And yeah, no idea how he's planning on taxing these women...someone mentioned a headscarf police force. I mean, what can I even say about that?

Sarah - I wonder too whether this is all just politics, and he's just saying what people want to hear. That's even worse though, b/c that means A LOT of Dutch people are pretty anti-Islamic.

Stacy - unfortunately he has a lot of credibility amongst a lot of Dutch people so I doubt this will make a dent in his popularity, and may even increase it.

cairo, lusaka, amsterdam said...

Jaz - well parliament ridiculed this proposal, but it looks like his party are going to win the most seats in the next election, so who knows what will happen.

Stephanie: I totally agree. No one should be ignoring this. It says a lot about race/religious issues in modern Europe.

Nadia - for real.

Cait said...

This guy sounds like a nutcase!
What the heck is happening in europe?!
You cant "emancipate women" by taking away their rights to wear (or not wear)whatever the heck they want to!
The only thing polluting the streets is fear and racial/religious discrimination!
I just cant believe this is happening in what was once among the most tolerant nations in the world.
Your faithful reader,

cairo, lusaka, amsterdam said...

Cait - I really want to know what's happening to Europe too! And yeah, the fact that Holland has always been known for being liberal is what makes Wilders an ever weirder phenomenon!

I'm glad you posted! Have fun in Germany, you'll be really close by :)

Anonymous said...

It seems to me like Europe is really having a difficult time with anti-Islamic mindsets, human rights issues, and tolerance.

Here in America it is not like there is no prejudice, but not at the level Europe has seemed to maintain. Maybe it is because Muslims are more a part of society and part of higher level positions, causing more hatred... Or is it the exact opposite? Muslims are being left out because of the hatred?

cairo, lusaka, amsterdam said...

I think the main difference is that the US has had much more experience with immigrants. Immigration to Holland began in the 60s. Another things is that Muslim/Arab Americans are more educated on average than other Americans. In Holland this isn't the case.

Also it could be that Dutch people just have a problem with immigrants in general, and it is coming out as anti-Muslim because most immigrants happen to be Muslim (from Morocco and Turkey). I'm not sure about this though.

Amalia said...

This guys seems like a complete jerk.

Bahlool said...

Aslaam Alaykum
The problem with Europe is that these sentiments are growing. We have here in sweden a party that loves and adores this man. They try to emulate and copy those men like Geert wilders.
The issue is that all these parties are hypocritic..he wants to stop the veil that "is a sign of oppression" by oppressing it?

Every election i try to get voters here in Sweden to vote on any party except the racist party..and i think thats what a lot of us muslims lack, the coordination and work to make our "own" people to go to the voting booth and put a vote to stop these lunatics.
Hitler got power because people were silent to his schemes and plans, we should not be silent cause one day we will be gassed, one day we will be kicked out or we will suffer..this has been seen through out history and just cause we live in the year 2009 it doesnt mean we are immune..

We all laugh at him, but a lot used to laugh at Hitler too..and we saw what he did :p

cairo, lusaka, amsterdam said...

That's a great point Bahlool - we all laugh or stay silent during the build-up, and only realize when it's too late how serious it was.

It's definitely a serious problem when politicians can say things like "Muslim dress pollutes the streets" or "the Qur'an is like Mein Kampf". It was bad enough when Muslims didn't do much or protest against the US illegally invading two Muslim countries, but now it's time to do something.

Bahlool said...

Salam alaykum
Well the racist leader of denmarks folkparty, said that muslims are like weed (and we all know what we do with weed).
A swedish communist wrote a good book about islamofobia, and he gave a lot of examples of the remarks people do about muslims, remarks none would dare to do about jews or other groups.

I think its important that we as muslims oppose these parties with our votes and our blogs and our information.
As it is now, we are beeing told what to think and what to feel.
in the 90s, i heard from my classmates that i was told, by the holy Quran, to kill at least one jew or christian in my life..some week ago this myth appeared again.
If we dont oppose those lies, then people will believe them. Hitler said that the bigger hte lie the more who will believe there are blatant lies about muslims and islam..its our duty to oppose those..

One thing i noticed in sweden is that most antiislam blogs, were proisrael..i am not sure how it is in Holland, but it would be good to make a c comparision about what this stooge things of jews/israel and compare it to his stance on muslims and islam.

Anonymous said...

You make a good point. America is "the land of immigrants".. We are all immigrants save for the American Indians.

although America sure as heck is not a role model of tolerance, I am amazed and appalled at the stories and rhetoric coming out of Europe. I feel so ignorant, I had no idea what has been going on with this Geert character, nor any idea he held so much power.

I guess I assumed he was not taken seriously, but from other posts, it sounds like he actually might have some clout, along with others. I can't believe the level of hatred that has been rising in Europe. I will definitely start reading up on this issue.

Ikka said...

Oh my god. I'm so pissed i don't even know what to say! I mean, i know there are loads of people who hate Islam and muslims, but i guess i never knew any who hated it so openly. I just couldn't believe it when i read his quotes!and the worse thing is, he isn't an average joe ranting on the corner of the street, he's a POLITICIAN! my god! i agree with u Sara, if that ain't dangerous i dont know what is either.

I guess i won't be visiting you to do our little euro tour. I so wanted you to see my beautiful colorful hijabs!

cairo, lusaka, amsterdam said...

Sarah Elizabeth: a lot of people don't take him seriously but there are enough that do. If there were elections today HIS party would win the majority. Hello Holland, wake up!!

cairo, lusaka, amsterdam said...

Ikka - yeah that's the thing, a lot of people hate Islam privately but now it's becoming okay to say that in public and make racist comments.

And nooo don't let him ruin the eurotour! :P

Mina said...

How disgusing, he cant be serious lol...its so absurd im juz laughing at it, i would probabaly laugh in his face if i heard him say it haha...

Umm Omar said...

What an a**hole. Sorry, that's just the first thing that came to my head when I read this.

Candice said...

That's crazy! How ignorant!

G said...

When I first read this entry my heart skipped a beat. No not in loving adoration but I am just appalled. I am not extremely pro hijab myself but this is just shocking! I mean I am literally teriffied! This man obviously has a following, I mean how? Are Muslims in Europe actually silent enough or acting so anti-European that they feed into this lunatic's credibility? Some damn rich educated European muslim wuth some form of crediblity needs to start an awareness campaign. This is the FREE Europe? The continnent of every oppressed man's dream? These are the Dutch whose open mindedness every stifled soul admires and yearns for?

The world is falling apart. Why can't people just BE without someone trying to attack anything that defines their differences? It is extremely heartbreaking to read this post. Also angering and repulsive are adjectives that come to mind about this man's opinion.

May god save us all from this worlds outright bigots :(

Muni said...

So it's said that the muslim community/population in Holland is huge and expanding (remember that clip you posted previously). What if Dutch people see this as a threat and see the veil tax as a way to rid the country of some Muslims?

Problem indeed.

cairo, lusaka, amsterdam said...

The Dutch Muslim population is definitely big and growing and I think this is part of the problem - Dutch people are probably worried they will be a minority at some point.

I wonder if the tax is to get rid of the Muslims or to make them look and act exactly like "native" Dutch people? The veil is a symbol of difference and maybe people don't like that.

I wonder how many Dutch people support this tax idea though. It'd be interesting to find out.

WhiteOrchid said...

Pollute the cityscape?? lol seriously??

Are there people who would actually vote for this lunatic? Forget the fact that he is a racist, almost everything he says make s absolutely no sense at all!

cairo, lusaka, amsterdam said...

Unfortunately yes...if elections were to take place now his party would win. Sad isn't it?

Anonymous said...

This guy is a lunatic on two levels!
First: he is a backward racist, nazi bigot
Secondly, even if he makes up a system to manage to tax only once not twice blah blah how is he going to assure that the woman he is taxing is a Muslim woman? If he was a smart bigot he would ban all headscarves as well as full hair coverage hats because if he only bans the khimar many Muslimahs will get crafty and wear a large hat that covers the hair and ears and a roll neck or wear their scarf cultural style i.e. the way African or Sikh women wear them. An Indian Muslimah could easily lie that she is a Sikh (change her name before somewhere)and wear the Gulf style scarf, a Sudanese Muslimah could wear it Zimbabwe style and lie she's observing her African rather than Islamic roots. My former uni mentor, a fully practicing Muslima, changed her name from Amina to Cristina, wears long, loose clothes and a hat instead of a scarf with something over the neck not due to legal obligation but not to seem less obviously Muslim in a provincial French town and not get the stares and initial discrimination. Basically, that guy will just incite radicalism further and would force many Muslims to become crypto and underground which is fertile soil for Taliban like groups due to being hidden and away from he public eye. Anyway many Muslimas in Britain wear the "Western" style hijab without fear of persecution just for a change tying it at the back with a roll neck or neck scarf, some wear it Turban style I even saw a Lebanese girl with the stretchy hat and neck scarf at the station.