vrijdag 22 januari 2016

Khadija Arib, Speaker of Dutch Parliament

Khadija Arib was born in Morocco 1960. Until the age of 15 she lived in Casablanca when she joined her illiterate mother to the Netherlands where her father had found a job as a migrant worker. She had received a simple but decent education in Morocco, could speak, read and write Arabic and French and finished high school in the Netherlands. She studied social and political science at college and university. Worked for some time at a university, then at institutes for social wellfare and became a member of parliament for the Labout-Socialist Party in 1998.
Last week a new speaker for the House of Representatives (the most important 2d chamber of Dutch Parliament) was elected. It was a race between four candidates. There were four cadidates. The cadidate for the anti-Muslim party of Geert Wilders only received votes from his own party. This party strongly attacked Khadija Arib, because she holds a Dutch and a Moroccan citizenship. 'How can a Moroccan citizen become speaker of Dutch parliament?' Besides being a Muslim she was criticised by this party. But this had no effect, instead the Wilders-candidate could not attract votes from other parties. Also the candidate from the Christian Democrats was not strong enough.
In the last votes there were two candidates: Khadija Arib against the candidate from the Liberal Party. Wilders did not support both and with about 55-85 Arib was the strongest and was elected.
This election reminded me of the funny book by Michel Houellebecq, Soumission (Submission as the translation of Islam), where from four candidates in 2022 the final vote is between an anti-Islamic nationalist candidate and a liberal Muslim and the latter becomes president!

Arib has written several small books. One, Couscous op zondag (2009) is her personal and family story. A second, Allah heeft ons zo gemaakt. Liefde tussen vrouwen (Allah has made us this way. About love between women, 2011) is a defence for the acceptance of homosexuality. Arib is herself married a man, a medical doctor. But she had a grandmother who was an illiterate but practical and open minded woman. She discovered that a granddaughter had a lesbian relation and could accept it. In the book Arib has interviews with four lesbian women from Morocco (2), Egypt and Iraq. Only in a last note she claims that homosexuality is not forbidden by the Qur'an (the story of Luth is not about this practice), nor in hadith. But religion has not the proper answers here. 'Arab spring is not only about political change, it is also about individual freedom, control and authority over one's own life' (p. 71)

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