Sunday, January 15, 2012

BENADOR: Dutch Queen dismisses anti-Muslim Party over her Headscarf

When Beatrix, the Queen of the Netherlands, recently visited the United Arab Emirates and Oman, she covered her head, out of respect of local religious traditions.

Back home, Geert Wilders, the head of the Freedom Party, one of the largest parties in the Netherlands and a staunch opponent of Islamic head scarves and head-to-toe burqa robes for women, did not see with good eyes the Queen's gesture to her Muslim hosts.

It's important to note that in the Emirates, one can find women with heads uncovered, so the Queen *may* have had to cover her head to go into the mosque. Fine so far.

However, the Queen, Wilders et al, are missing an excellent opportunity to promote in the Islamic, Muslim world, the notion and the imperative need for reciprocity.

Reciprocity, in the sense that Muslims are welcome in the West, and most particularly in this case, in the Netherlands where they are authorized to build their mosques. So, in the same way, the Queen should have taken that opportunity to check out some spaces that the Netherlands could buy to build a few churches, so when their people visit in Oman or the Emirates, they can also have places to worship.

Another point open for reciprocity: The head covered in the Emirates and in Oman. The quid pro quo must be the uncovered head in the Netherlands.

Complaining that the Queen has covered her head due to protocol and politeness is a waste of time. But, it could have been used as the best opportunity to demand reciprocity.

And, so, Mr. Wilders, with all due respect, should stick to continue influencing policy making, not fashion and protocol issues.


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