Nicaragua updates on #COVID19

For the past week Nicaragua has been experimenting a significant growth in COVID-19 cases and deaths that the government has publicly denied.

The Ortega’s regime is also threatening healthcare workers who dare to wear gloves and masks, all because according to them “it scares patients and makes them panic”. Additionally, if any healthcare worker wants to quit, they will take away their license for good.

Several doctors have spoken up about the government’s negligence with the current pandemic AND have been fired consequently.

People have started donating to different clinics and hospitals, but it has been done secretly as the contributions may be taken away by the authorities.

A group of people were taken to jail just this week because the Sandinista Police says it’s “illegal to donate surgical masks”.

Due to recent events, we cannot say the exact place where donations are going, but we can show you what we’ve bought with all your help.

The first donations consist of 1,140 reusable masks that went all to healthcare workers (as shown below)

100 in Granada
550 in Tipitapa, Managua, Estelí
390 in Matagalpa
100 to a hospital in Managua

We are now working to distribute the kits and will keep you posted.


Donate € -


Coronavirus – What FoldingAtHome are doing and how you can help in simple terms

By Folding At Home (F@h)

Visit their website to join this great initiative!

Folding@home (FAH or F@h) is a distributed computing project for simulating protein dynamics, including the process of protein folding and the movements of proteins implicated in a variety of diseases. It brings together citizen scientists who volunteer to run simulations of protein dynamics on their personal computers. Insights from this data are helping scientists to better understand biology, and providing new opportunities for developing therapeutics.

By visiting you can install their program on your computer to run in the background when it’s idle. This runs mathematical equations for protein folding and sends your computed info back to MIT. Folding at Home has been around for a while now, doing research on neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimers, Cancer, Huntington’s and Parkinson’s. Right now though, they are working full time on the Coronavirus!

The Coronavirus

Update on Folding@home’s efforts to assist researchers around the world taking up the global fight against COVID-19:

After initial quality control and limited testing phases, Folding@home team has released an initial wave of projects simulating potentially druggable protein targets from SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) and the related SARS-CoV virus (for which more structural data is available) into full production on Folding@home. Many thanks to the large number of Folding@home donors who have assisted us thus far by running in beta or advanced modes.

Sudan Call’s reaction on draft resoluton Africa Group

Africa Group from the United Nations on Human Rights wrote a draft resolution on technical assistance and capacity-building in Sudan. The following are some key observations and recommendations, written by Sudan Call, a group consist of political parties civil society organizations. The Hague Peace Projects shares their observation because we critically follow the updates on Sudan, and strive for a strong, fair and effective resolution, contributing to peace and justice in Sudan.

– The draft is incredibly weak and bears no relation whatsoever to the deteriorating human rights situation on the ground and the analysis in the IE’s report.

– Instead of renewing the IE’s mandate for a full 12 months, the draft envisages terminating his mandate altogether by March 2019
– it is totally inappropriate to talk about transition of the human rights situation in Sudan given the continuing appalling human rights violations being committed by the Government. If the mandate is to be transitioned anywhere, it should be back to item 4. The language on transition will send a very negative signal to the victims of the Government’s human rights violations, to civil society and NGOs. It will also encourage the Government if Sudan to think that it can continue its human rights violations with impunity.

– The draft has completely eliminated any reference to monitoring, verifying and reporting. It has limited the Independent Expert (IE)’s mandate just to technical assistance and capacity building. Any capacity-building should be organically linked to monitoring.

– It wants to replace a monitoring mechanism with a toothless OHCHR office in Khartoum under the control of the Government of Sudan. The Government has a long track record of obstructing the work of UNAMID’s human rights section. The IE’s report acknowledges that the OHCHR has attempted to visit Sudan over the last two years but the Government of Sudan has denied them access. If the Government is not prepared to grant the OHCHR even minimum standards of access for a capacity building needs assessment, what chance is there that an OHCHR office in Khartoum would be allowed to become fully operational and fully functional. And even if it could function, the Government would continue to intimidate and detain human rights defenders and civil society representatives who try to contact it just as the Government has done with those who have tried to contact the IE during his visits or to travel to Geneva to attend this Council

– The text gives a lot of credit to the Government’s so-called achievements but ignores all the grave human rights violations documented in the IE’s report and the fact that the President of Sudan is wanted by the ICC on charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

– It mixes up political and human rights issues. The fact that Khartoum played a role in mediating in South Sudan is not relevant to its human rights record

– It is one-sided in only acknowledging the cessation of hostilities announced by the Government of Sudan and not the cessation of hostilities announced by the armed movements. If the text is going to give credit to one side, it ought to give credit to both

– The draft does not refer to the ongoing wars in three big regions of Sudan which are fundamental to the human rights situation by threatening the right to life

– It commends the Government of Sudan for hosting more than a million refugees yet the Government of Sudan has displaced 6 million of its own citizens either internally or as refugees

– It notes with appreciation the Government’s efforts in combatting terrorism and human trafficking and smuggling yet the Government has an impressive record of involvement in terrorism and government officials are complicit in human trafficking

– It welcomes the Government’s efforts to investigate human rights violations and to hold perpetrators to account, yet Sudan’s security forces, who are the main perpetrators of human rights violations, enjoy complete impunity.

– The Government is asking U.N. mechanisms for more resources for technical assistance and capacity building, while it continues to commit human rights violations. In the absence of freedoms, democracy, an independent judiciary or any redress or complaints mechanism for victims, there no conducive environment for technical assistance and capacity building

– The draft refers to the appointment of the Chairperson of the Sudan National Human Rights Commission as a positive development. Yet contrary to the Paris Principles that provide for the independence of national human rights institutions, the new Chairperson of Sudan’s National Human Rights Commission is the former wife of President Bashir’s brother.

– In conclusion, the whole draft is a travesty of the actual human rights situation in Sudan and appears to refer to a country that doesn’t actually exist. It is extraordinary that while one arm of the UN system, the UN Security Council, has referred the situation in Darfur to the ICC and Sudan’s President is wanted by the ICC for atrocity crimes, another arm of the UN system is discussing a draft resolution that would reward the Government of Sudan for all its crimes.

Sudan call

Report: ‘Armenian-Kurdish-Turkish dialogue’ at the Initiatives of Change event: ‘Addressing Europe’s Unfinished Business’ PART 2

From the 23rd until 27 july a group of 15 Armenians, Kurds and Turks from Lebanon, The Netherlands and Armenia participated in the Initiatives of Change (IoC) program ‘Addressing Europe’s Unfinished Business (AEUB) at Caux Palace (Switzerland). Read here part 1 of the Report!

Day 3 – Presentation The Hague Peace Projects and next steps

In the Caux programs everybody is required to submit to a ‘community group’ with different theme’s. The community groups are for personal reflection in a small setting and to coordinate the kitchen duties. These are really interesting moments for reflection and inspiration, but since these gatherings are confidential, we cannot report about it.

After the community group and breakfast, the main hall was reserved for 16 key initiatives of ‘Building social cohesion in Europe’. The coordinators were asked to give a one minute plenary introduction, so participants could have an idea and decide whether they want to hear more about it in the next hour. There were three sessions from ten minutes each, to ask questions about the why, impact, key insights and next steps of the initiatives.

A quick summary of the ‘Armenian-Kurdish-Turkish diaspora dialogue in The Netherlands’ initiative:
Why: There is no dialogue and contact between communities since 2015, when the war broke out between Turkey and the PKK, after the peace process (2012-2015) failed.
Impact: It’s a small volunteer initiative in The Netherlands with incidental (project-based) funding, but there is a growing line. Talks with municipalities, ngo’s and self-organizations to reduce tensions between communities are gaining ground.
Key insights: Personal stories are a powerful method to ignite connection between people, without neglecting sensitive political questions.
Next steps: Talk with Dutch Members of Parliament and with the international Caux spirit behind our back doing projects in the country of origins (Turkey, Armenia, Lebanon and other countries).


Second Armenian-Kurdish-Turkish dialogue meeting

The Dutch group gave a powerpoint-presentation about what they did as a group since 2017. If you want to know more about this read here our reports of previous events.

After the presentation we formed a circle, and talked about next steps. Again, the need for an action-plan and follow-up was repeated. After intensive talks we decided that the next meetings should be ‘work-sessions’. We closed the day with an Armenian song leaded by Tato Martirossian.

Continue Reading for part 3 of the report!


Protests led by youth are met with violence;

attempts of dissent are suppressed.

In Bangladesh, mass outrage over two teenagers killed in a road crash escalated into a social movement, with high school students stepping out on the streets, holding placards demanding for road safety and the resignation of the Shipping Minister, Shajahan Khan. Shajahan Khan’s insensitive remarks about the death of the students sparked the outrage. Road safety is a major issue of concern in Bangladesh. Research indicates that last year more than 4200 people lost their lives in road accidents in Bangladesh.

Over the past few days, several images and videos have gone viral on Facebook, which testify to the allegations of brutal violence committed by the police and the Bangladesh Chhatro League (the student wing of the Awami League). BCL has been accused of thrashing and molesting journalists. On Saturday, August 4th, mobile internet was suspended for 24 hours and many complained about a lack of connectivity. Many believe this was done to suppress the dissent, since the issue was not being covered enough by local media and subsequently protesters and supporters of the movement went online to share updates, using Hashtags and tagging international media houses’ social media accounts. Many social media influencers reported that they received thousands of emails and messages from Bangladesh. Some social media influencers, including Drew Binsky, uploaded videos expressing their solidarity and concern.

Shahidul Alam, a renowned photographer and social activist, told Al Jazeera that the movement is not solely being driven by the demand for road safety: other issues too are causing public dissent. The latest update that Shahidul Alam was detained—as reported by Dhaka Tribune—has since been shared by many people on social media. However, according to Dhaka Tribune, the police have denied these allegations. Earlier the same day, Aparajita Sangita, an online activist, was detained but released afterwards—as confirmed from her Facebook account.

We, at the Hague Peace Projects, express our solidarity with the youngsters and condemn the attempt to suppress the voices of dissent through brutal violence, arrest and the suspension of the internet. 


“Why me—Why not me—Why not you?”

Simple narratives can be deadly: how I recovered from a terror attack | Bonya Ahmed | TEDxExeter

At the Ekushey Book Fair, in Dhaka, 2015, Rafida Bonya Ahmed and her husband, Avijit Roy, were targeted by Islamist terrorists in a brutal attack, leaving her gravely injured and Avijit dead. The attack was not an isolated incident. In 2015, individuals branded as “atheist bloggers,” including Washiqur Rahman Babu, Niloy Chatterjee, and Ananta Bijoy Das, were targeted and killed. After Avijit Roy’s death, his publisher, Faisal Arefin Dipan, who ran Jagriti Prokashony, was hacked to death in October, 2015.

People grieve differently,” Bonya points out. As she tells us in this TEDx presentation, grappling with the complexity of the situation was at the core of her recovery. Bonya encourages others to resist simple narratives by going beyond the self and seeking an understanding of complexity. This has the potential for real change, she encourages. Religious violence is not rooted in religion,’ as some claim, it is complexly rooted in history and politics, through the corruption of power, oppression, poverty, and creeping social prejudices. Furthermore, the rise of systematic Islamization over the last few decades is not reducible to regional phenomena, it has been supported by local and Western governments.If we want a just and peaceful world, we need to resist the simple stories.We can easily accept simple narratives, or stay silent (like so many secular governments do), but we then fall prey to hate and ideological intolerances.

“Please understand our world in its rich and messy complexity; hold your politicians responsible; inform yourself, question, and deepen your understanding; and support the journalists and the people who are putting their lives on the line by helping us to make sense of this complex world—it matters. Avijit Roy was silenced, but I have a voice. Why me—Why not me—Why not you?”


Rafida Bonya Ahmed is a Bangladeshi-American author, humanist activist, and blogger. Bonya is the widow of Avijit Roy, a well-known writer, blogger, and activist who founded Mukto-mona. Avijit was murdered when they were attacked by Islamists during a book signing trip to Dhaka, Bangladesh in 2015. Bonya was gravely injured during the attack. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community.

References: Rafida Bonya Ahmed via Youtube and Wikipedia.

Remembering Shahzahan Bachchu

Rest in Peace

Maybe I’m No Human*

By Nirmalendu Goon, Translation by S M Maniruzzaman


Maybe I’m no human, humans are different;
They can walk, they can sit, and they can wander room to room
They are different; they are afraid of death, scared of snakes.
Maybe I’m no human. Then how can snakes raise no fear within me?
How can I go standing alone all day long like a tree?
How can I sing no song watching a movie?
How can I go without drinking wine with ice?
How can I pass a night without closing my eyes?
Indeed I feel strange when I think about
The way I go alive from morning to eve.,
From eve to night.
When I’m alive,
I feel strange.
When I write,
I feel strange.
When I paint,
I feel strange.


Maybe I’m no human;
If I were a human,
I’d have a pair of shoes of my own,
I’d have a home of my own,
I’d have a room of my own,
I’d get warmed in the embrace of my wife at night.
On the top of my belly my child would play,
my child would paint.


Maybe I’m no human;
Were I a human,
Why do I laugh
When I see the sky empty like my heart?


Maybe I’m no human
Humans are different;
They have hands, they have nose,
They have eyes like yours
Which can refract the reality
The way prisms refract light.


Were I a human,
I’d have scars of love on my thigh,
I’d have the sign of anger on my eye,
I’d have a mother,
I’d have a father,
I’d have a sister,
I’d have a wife who’d love me,
I’d have fear of accidents or a sudden death.


Maybe I’m no human; If I were a human,
I could not write poems to you,
I could not pass a night without you.
Humans are different; they are afraid of death,
They are afraid of snakes,
They flee away when they see snakes;
Whereas instead fleeing away, mistaking them as my friends
I approach them, embrace them.



Secular humanists and LGBT activists and publishers continue to be persecuted in Bangladesh for their free speech. On June 11th, 2018, Bengali poet and free thinker, Shahzahan Bachchu, was shot dead in Munshiganj district, at Kakaldi, near Dhaka. Shahzahan was a political activist, a former general secretary of the Munshiganj district unit of the Community party, an outspoken secularist, a published poet and a writer of books on humanism. He is also the founder of the Bishaka Prakashani (Star Publishers) publishing house, which specialises in poetry. Shahzahan was sitting at a tea stall in Kakaldi, his home village, when four men on motorcycles rushed at him. He was killed immediately. Shahzahan was previously at risk, living in hiding after receiving death threats from militants and fanatics, through phone calls and messages.


Since 2013, dozens of others, like Shahzahan, have been targeted and killed by Islamist extremists, for their secular non-Muslim views. The government has been slow to respond or condemn this violence. Since 2015, the reported murders and attacks for secular views have included the deaths of Avijit Roy, Washiqur Rahman, Ananto Bijoy Das, and Niloy Neel (friend of Shahzahan, who was murdered just days before him). Government officials, including the prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, blame these attacks on the victims themselves, for their criticism of religion. Secularists are held by the government under the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Act, which has recently been expanded upon – and allegedly has been misused – for the criminal prosecution of ‘blasphemous speech’ that ‘hurts religious sentiments,’ as well as for any criticisms that are made against governmental actions or policies.


Along with PEN AMERICA, we support this urging of the authorities to investigate and do justice; we support this urging for no more impunity by the government. Reporting from the IHEU Freedom of Thought Report (Bangladesh chapter), the IHEU President, Andrew Copson, said:

We are devastated that the spectre of violence has returned to the freethinking community in Bangladesh. Every humanist writer and secular activist and freethinking publisher who has been killed in recent years has been a defender of the rights of others, a lover of humanity and reason and justice. Their murders stand against all these universal values. We once again call on the government of Bangladesh to root out the Jihadi networks perpetrating these crimes, and on the international community to bring pressure to bear on Bangladesh to protect and defends its humanists and human rights defenders.



Cross-posting from:


Liberation Day Reflections


“As we learn to bear the intimacy of scrutiny, and to flourish within it, as we learn to use the products of that scrutiny for power within our living, those fears which rule our lives and form our silences begin to lose their control over us.” – Audre Lorde


May 5th (Bevrijdingsdag/Liberation Day) marks the end of Nazi Germany’s occupation of The Netherlands during WWII. It happens every year, one day after the Dutch day of the Remembrance of the Dead. Sixty-four years later, The Netherlands still celebrate Liberation Day, calling forth its remembrance, not only as an historical moment for celebration, but as a deeply activating concept, throughout international communities around the world.



Importantly in these times, Liberation Day parallels its remembrance of The Netherlands’ freedom from war with an even more global vision: to bring awareness, and to amplify the voices that dialogue, heal, and struggle for freedom in the aims to liberate from the subjugation of violence due to international warfare and political and economic corruption. Values for liberation and freedom are taught to grow through the productive roots of local activism, and these roots are necessary for nourishing global connections in times of crisis.



European etymology for the word ‘liberation’ means ‘the act to set or become free from confinement or restraint’. In ancient Mesopotamia–one of the oldest archaeological civilisations–the word meant ‘the return to the Mother,’ hinting at the complex ties between liberation and place. Guided by the profound roots of this beautiful word, we can understand Liberation Day to signify that a moment and a space has been carefully made for re-activating a highly constructive concept. And it ought to be continually re-activated or ritually re-enacted, by necessity of its meaning and its construction. Since this moment must be rooted not only in our free celebrations, here in The Netherlands, but in the emancipatory potential of the diverse ideas and practices that can help others and ourselves to cultivate freedom from within.



In the spirit of Liberation Day, The Hague Peace Projects celebrated together in Malieveld park, offering a wide range of activities for visitors of all ages. Everyone was invited to plant a personal Peace Message in the form of a flower seed, planted in solidarity with a commitment to getting to the roots of Human Rights issues and to the heart of non-violent, peaceful practices. The planted seed served as a symbol for the peaceful message, the soil as the environment in which the message can grow, and the final act of pouring water for taking care of one’s own message and idea. Once the flower will grow, the peaceful message will reach many people and will pass on. After the visitors completed the process of planting the seed they were invited to write their own Peace Message on the flower pot.



It was beautiful to see how many people participated and how each person had their own unique way of looking at Peace. We are excited for each message to grow and flourish. One of our most attractive activities among children was the face and portrait painting by our supporting artists. While the children either slowly turned into colourful doves, butterflies or got the Hague Peace Projects symbol painted on their arms, the parents had time to receive more information about HPP’s activities and projects through a Great Lake Regions Quiz, Flyers and talks with the Hague Peace Projects team members.



We ask members of the HPP workgroups to share their messages, here-below, of what liberation can mean for their regions:


As the project-coordinator of the Armenian-Kurdish-Turkish workgroup, freedom and liberation day for me and ‘my regions’ (born in The Netherlands, having double nationality, Dutch/Turkish, I have multiple regions) is something complex. Here, even though we live in relative freedom and safety, I feel marginalized as a coincidental member of the Turkish-muslim minority. In Turkish contexts I enjoy Turkish privilege, being part of the Turkish-sunni majority. But still, to be in engagement with sensitive subjects such as the Kurdish question, I have experienced a lot of pressure from multiple sides. And that is also what freedom brings. People have the liberty to exercise free speech. And more than a couple of times, that is being done through the reproduction of nationalistic and monolithic views about their people and past. You don’t have to agree, but freedom means we have to acknowledge that with some people we will never agree.


Turkey is the land where my parents come from. They came for economic reasons. But also in a period where the military junta had abolished all kinds of liberties, like free politics. People were tortured and hanged in jails. 33 years later, things are maybe not as bad as then, but Turkey is going backwards. A one-man rule by Recep Tayyip Erdogan is gaining ground. The diversity, history and energy of Turkey cannot be swallowed by one figure, one ideology or one party. Individual liberties should be protected against the tyranny of the majority, in a democratic non-violent way.”

–Tayfun Balcik, Armenian-Turkish-Kurdish workgroup


“For us, liberation means the right to choose and live our life without discrimination and restriction, irrespective of religion, ethnicity, gender, race or any other identity.”

–Shucheesmita Simonti, Bangladesh workgroup




‘Zeg maar niet dat je sjiitisch bent’

Op de warmste 19 april die ooit is gemeten in Nederland, bevolken grote groepen mensen de terrassen van Utrecht. Ook in de buurt van Theater Kikker, waar de paneldiscussie ‘Muslims Represent!’ zal plaatsvinden.

Bezoekers druppelen langzaam naar binnen, waar ze worden verwelkomd door meevoerende klanken uit de rietfluit van Cengiz Arslanpay. De host van vanavond is Nawal Mustafa. Zij valt gelijk met de deur in huis: ‘we gaan het vandaag over racisme hebben’. Vier sprekers zijn uitgenodigd. Maar eerst een korte inleiding van Dr. Margreet van Es, religiewetenschapper aan de Universiteit Utrecht, die het debat heeft georganiseerd i.s.m. The Hague Peace Projects.



Van Es benadrukt dat islamofobie een verzamelterm is voor, ze somt op, een onbestemd gevoel van wantrouwen specifiek gericht tegen moslims, stereotiepe beeldvorming, discriminatie, haatretoriek en expliciet geweld tegen moslims of mensen die voor moslims worden aangezien.

Hoewel ze erkent dat islamofobie een lastige term kan zijn, gaat het vandaag daar niet over. Het onderwerp is: Hoe verzet je je tegen islamofobie? En welke rol speelt diversiteit onder moslims daarbij?

Ook introduceert ze de term intersectionaliteit, wat er op neerkomt dat niemand slechts één identiteit heeft. In de wirwar van verschillende identiteiten en complexe maatschappelijke verhoudingen voeren mensen vaak verschillende battles tegelijk.

Van Es legt uit wat intersectionaliteit betekent aan de hand van haar eigen situatie. Als witte bekeerde moslima wordt zij soms door andere moslims onterecht op een voetstuk geplaatst. Aan de andere kant wekt de combinatie ‘wit’ en ‘moslim’ een specifieke vorm van agressie op bij mensen die toch al sterk gekant zijn tegen moslims en hun religie.


Eerste spreker

Halil Ibrahim Karaaslan (docent en secretaris bij het Contactorgaan Moslims en Overheid) begint door voorop te stellen dat het CMO niet alle moslims vertegenwoordigt, maar alleen de koepelorganisaties die zich hebben aangesloten, zoals Diyanet, Milli Görüs, de Süleymanci-groep en nog zeven andere koepels. Islamofobie vindt hij een lastige term. Met alle gewelddadige berichtgeving over moslims snapt hij wel dat mensen angstig kunnen zijn. ‘En met zo’n term is het dan moeilijk om legitieme punten aan te kaarten.’

Als vader is hij radicaler geworden in de betrokkenheid die hij voelt met de strijd tegen islamofobie. ‘Ik heb Turkse roots, maar mijn toekomst ligt hier in Nederland. Na 9/11 werd steeds gezegd dat onze cultuur en religie niet samengaan met Nederland. Ik wil dat mijn kinderen niet in dezelfde sfeer opgroeien, en laten zien dat het wel samengaat.’

Hij stelt drie dingen voor: Eén: Het terugkapen van termen als jihad.  De ‘jihad tegen de nefs’ (strijd tegen het ego) is de belangrijkste jihad die een individuele moslim kan voeren, aldus Halil. Twee: meer empathie in de gesprekken tussen moslims en niet-moslims. En drie: de mogelijkheden creëren dat moslimjongeren zich meer kunnen profileren in de Nederlandse maatschappij.


Ibtisam Abaaziz

De volgende spreker, Ibtissam Abaaziz (socioloog en projectleider bij Meld Islamofobie), start met een anekdote over een gebeurtenis van drie jaar geleden in Rotterdam-Zuid. ‘Het is 11 uur in de ochtend, een moslima stapt de tram binnen met haar kinderen. Op het moment dat ze zich wil zich verplaatsen, knijpt een man in haar bil en zegt: “Kijk wat ze onder die hoofddoek heeft verstopt.” Omstanders zeggen en doen helemaal niks. De enige die er wat van zegt is haar eigen vijfjarige zoon: “Blijf van mijn mama af.” Ze doet aangifte bij de politie, maar krijgt te horen dat ze van een mug een olifant maakt en dat ze het maar als een compliment moet beschouwen. De volgende dag gaat ze opnieuw met haar man. Haar aangifte wordt weer niet opgenomen. Ze geeft niet op en raadpleegt Meld Islamofobie. Alleen hierdoor raakt deze zaak bekend.’

Meld Islamofobie is drie jaar geleden, na de aanslag bij Charlie Hebdo, ontstaan. Het doel is om islamofobie in kaart te brengen aan de hand van data en patronen. Ibtissam: ‘Uit onze cijfers blijkt bijvoorbeeld dat vooral vrouwen slachtoffer worden van islamofobie en dat de daders vooral witte mannen zijn.’ Volgens haar kunnen zulke dingen gebeuren omdat islamofobie wordt gelegitimeerd door het politieke klimaat. Verder zegt Ibtissam dat moslimvrouwen een meervoudige strijd voeren: tegen islamofobie, maar ook tegen seksisme in de samenleving in het algemeen en tegen seksisme binnen islamitische gemeenschappen. ‘Onze strijd tegen islamofobie in de maatschappij is pas geloofwaardig als we ook intern de strijd voeren tegen racisme, homofobie en seksisme.’


Maame Hammond 

Maame Hammond (orthopedagoog, werkzaam binnen de hulpverlening en het onderwijs) wil hokjes doorbreken door eerst meerdere aan te vinken. Ze spreekt normaliter niet veel over haar geloofsovertuigingen, maar in haar toespraak vertelt ze over de momenten die indruk op haar hebben gemaakt of anderszins zijn blijven hangen. Zo zegt Maame tijdens de verkiezingen in 2017 geraakt te zijn door het verkiezingsprogramma van de PVV. In het verkiezingsprogramma werd gepleit om Nederland op verschillende manieren te “de-islamiseren”. Ze moest aan haar moeder denken, waarvan Maame dacht dat zij weer aan haar dochter moest denken die bekeerd is tot de islam. Daarnaast spreekt zij over de kinderen en jongeren met wie zij werkt en hoe het voor hun is om in dit klimaat op te groeien.

Binnen de hulpverlening heeft Maame enkele ervaringen gehad waarbij onbekendheid met de islam tot vervelende situaties heeft geleid voor iemand die zij begeleidde. Ondanks het feit dat Maame zich voorheen liet raken door negatieve berichtgeving, kiest zij er nu voor om dat niet meer te doen. Daarnaast stelt ze: ‘Mensen die bij voorbaat niet willen luisteren, daar hoef ik niet mee in gesprek. Ik wil gewoon mijn leven leiden. De gesprekken met mensen die oprecht interesse tonen zijn veel leuker!’


Fatma Bulaz

De laatste spreker is Fatma Bulaz, organizer bij de vakbeweging. Over islamofobie is ze helder: ‘Zoals de term homofobie niet wordt geproblematiseerd en het evident is dat het om homohaat gaat, is islamofobie voor mij gewoon moslimhaat.’ Ze pleit voor solidariteit met de slachtoffers en vertelt over haar moeder. Een zichtbare moslima die twee keer is bespuugd door witte mensen. Verder stelt Fatma patriarchale structuren binnen islamitische gemeenschappen aan de kaak. Ze voelt zich als vrouw in moskeeën vaak in haar waardigheid aangetast vanwege de kleine ruimtes die aan vrouwen beschikbaar worden gesteld.

Ook benoemt Fatma haar sjiitische achtergrond. Haar ouders zeiden vaak: ‘zeg maar niet dat je sjiitisch bent’. Op school werd ze door Turkse en Marokkaanse leerlingen aleviet genoemd, omdat ze sjiieten niet kenden. Er werden vooroordelen naar haar hoofd geslingerd: ‘jullie bidden toch tot Ali, Ali is toch jullie profeet?’ Een vriendin die openlijk alevitisch was, werd uitgescholden en voor ‘nepmoslim’ uitgemaakt. Altijd had Fatma het gevoel dat ze zich moest bewijzen tegenover soennitische moslims, en uitleggen dat sjiieten ook moslims zijn. ‘Nu heb ik dat losgelaten. Ik hoef mezelf niet te bewijzen.’



De moderator Nawal heeft iets opgemerkt: ‘Alleen Fatma benoemde tot welke stroming zij binnen de islam behoorde. De rest heeft dat niet gedaan. Ik heb dan de aanname dat jullie tot de soennitische meerderheid behoren. Klopt dat?’

‘Niet per se’, zegt Hammond, ‘Ik zie mezelf als moslim. Mijn pad heeft geleid tot de soennitische islam, maar ik wil me niet in zo’n hokje stoppen.’ Ibtissam: ‘In mijn persoonlijke beleving doet dat er niet zo toe. De diversiteit is voor mij een vanzelfsprekendheid.’

Halil: ‘Ik kenmerk mezelf als moslim. We zijn geen homogene groep. Dat is een feit. Ik irriteer me wel aan de intolerantie binnen de gemeenschap. Juist in een land waar we al een minderheid zijn, zouden we meer naar elkaar toe moeten groeien.’

Nawal: ‘Ja, maar jullie hoeven die keuze ook niet te maken. Fatma heeft die keuze niet. Zij moest haar identiteit verbergen. Het is ook een privilege dat jullie hebben als soenniet. Dan vind ik het makkelijk om te zeggen, nee, ik ben moslim. Ik verdeel niet. Dat doen jullie ook niet. Maar toch staan jullie in de machtsposities binnen de islam toch op een positie waar Fatma niet staat.’

Dat vindt Ibtissam een eyeopener en bedankt Nawal voor dit inzicht. Maar in haar eigen onderzoek naar de religieuze beleving onder oudere en jongere Marokkanen ziet ze toch dat hokjesdenken ‘een Nederlands product’ is. Halil is het daar niet mee eens: ‘Nou, Turken zijn ook hokjesdenkers. Turken zien zichzelf toch als net iets beter. En probeer maar eens thuis te komen met een donker persoon. Daar zit nog een enorme kloof.’

Ibtissam antwoordt dat bij Marokkanen de nationale identiteit veel minder een factor van betekenis is. Ze haalt haar eigen onderzoek naar voren, waaruit blijkt dat de islambeleving van jongeren veel meer is gecategoriseerd in termen van ‘salafisme’, ‘spirituele moslim’, enzovoorts.

Bij de tweede ronde wil Nawal dieper ingaan op seksisme. Hoe kaart je dat op een constructieve wijze aan, en wat voor rol hebben mannen daarbij?

Fatma Bulaz: ‘Niet zoals Shirin Musa dat doet. Leefbaar Rotterdam gebruikt haar als stok om moslims in het algemeen een zwieper te geven. Dan streef je dus je doel voorbij.’

Ibtissam: ‘Het moet met bewustwording beginnen.’

Nawal: ‘Is verbinding dan toch the way?

Ibtissam: ‘Verbinding is te beperkend. Want dan reduceer je racisme & islamofobie tot een individueel probleem en ervaringen, en als je dan maar lang genoeg verbindt, dan komt het wel goed. Nee, zo legitimeer je alle racistische incidenten, en kunnen mensen ermee wegkomen.’

Nawal: ‘Maar dan geldt dat dan toch ook voor seksisme intern, toch?

Ibtissam: Ja, patriarchale systemen kaarten we ook aan. En bewustwording kan ook heel confronterend zijn. De grote uitdaging vind ik wel hoe we seksisme kunnen aankaarten, zonder dat dit misbruikt wordt voor islamofobie?

Nawal kijkt naar Halil: ‘Wat is jouw rol als moslimman?’

Halil: ‘Mannen in dominante posities moeten zeggen dat het anders moet. En dat gebeurt dus niet. Wat gebeurt er nu? In de Turkse gemeenschap wordt bijvoorbeeld gezegd dat het gebedshuis van een vrouw haar huis is. En dat leidt vanaf het begin tot een scheefgroei. Ik wil dat mijn dochter de islam ook kan beleven zoals ik dat beleef.’

Nawal: ‘Nu, ga ik je even voor het blok zetten: hoe heb jij de afgelopen jaar benut om dit te veranderen in je eigen moskeegemeenschap?

Halil: Dat is een dooddoener. In de Islam heb je drie principes: weerspreken met je hand, met je mond en met je hart. Ik voldoe aan alle drie. En als je iemand meehebt, dan is een constructievere houding om te zeggen wat kunnen we samen doen. Ik probeer als we lezingen organiseren dat het altijd voor man, vrouw en in de Nederlandse taal is. Het werkt niet als je een strategie gaat opleggen, stel dat iemand zich inzet tegen islamofobie, maar niet tegen seksisme, is dat dan erg?’

Nawal schakelt over naar racisme van moslims tegen zwarte mensen. ‘Heel vaak wordt in gesprekken Bilal erbij gehaald, een van de eerste zwarte moslims uit de tijd van de profeet, om te zeggen dat de islam niet racistisch is. Maar dat is zo nietszeggend. Bilal is niet voldoende.’

Maame beaamt dat. ‘Het is niet voldoende om te zeggen dat racisme niet is toegestaan in de islam. Dit zou zichtbaar en hoorbaar moeten zijn in het handelen en spreken van individuele moslims en verschillende moslimgemeenschappen’.

Wellicht horen we daar meer over bij een volgende Muslims Represent!


Geschreven door Tayfun Balcik


On 17 march and 7 april The Hague Peace Projects was involved at the PAX Ambassador days in Rotterdam (Doopsgezinde Gemeente) and Nijmegen (Apostolische Genootschap). As individuals from the Armenian-, Kurdish- and Turkish-Dutch communities, Tato Martirossian, Mirko Jouamer and Tayfun Balcik engaged in dialogue with each other about peace. Looking for ways to get the best out of themselves.



What is dialogue, acknowledgment and equivalence? Different – sensitive – terms were part of the discussion. Like ‘whiteness’ on one side and ‘migrant communities’ and diaspora on the other. Everything what we encounter in our daily lives, we engage with and try to pass on, as constructively as possible, to diverse generations for peace.

To be continued..’