June 11, 2006

Uitverkoop -- The Automatism of Selective Tolerance

Dutch Queen Beatrix is proving that her aptitude when it comes to conflict management is second only to her dress sense. The Dutch Parliament saw a brouhaha earlier this week about a visit by Queen Beatrix of the Mobarak Mosque in The Hague. The Mobarak Mosque is the oldest mosque in the Netherlands and was established 50 years ago. Like all visitors, the Queen took off her shoes before entering and also refrained from shaking hands with the religious leaders running the mosque. Prime Minister Jan-Peter Balkenende praised the Queen for this "example of religious tolerance". Conservative politician Geert Wilders, however, let the Parliament on Wednesday know in no uncertain terms that he was of the opinion that "...the Queen and the Prime Minister of The Netherlands have sold out norms and values such as the equality between men and women under the pretext of tolerance."

In Friday's Brussels Journal, Paul Belien states that "... this 'tolerance' of Beatrix is a sham, which is proved by the fact that in 1982 she refused to visit a group of radical Orthodox Jews because they... refuse to shake hands with women.'

I don't think it's a sham. I don't even think that Beatrix, who holds a law degree, is a member of Club of Rome, and got her early education at a progressive, pacifist and egalitarian school, is aware of the double standard. It's just a European automatism to be tolerant selectively.

Hat tip: KEWIL.