Little Green Footballs

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Meanwhile, in Holland

One of the most vocal proponents of interfaith dialogue and minority rights in the Netherlands is a rabbi.

After 9/11, and especially after the van Gogh murder, some Dutchmen began to say harsh things about their Muslim neighbors. Some mosques were vandalized. One of the first to defend the Muslims of Holland was Awraham Soetendorp, 63-year-old rabbi and founder of Holland's Jewish Institute for Human Values, who has done as much to reach out to Muslims as any cleric in Europe.

I met Soetendorp at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland last month, and he told me that "when a mosque is attacked, all places of worship are attacked. When I hear slurs against Muslims I get the same nauseating feeling in the stomach as when I hear anti-Semitic remarks. I can feel a whole people and a religion of 1 billion people being stigmatized," he said. "We cannot commit that crime."

How long till someone accuses Soetendorp of being anti-Semitic?

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