I am used to quite some lunacy over here in Europe, but I admit I was more than a little taken aback this morning when I read that in Flanders, Belgium's Dutch-speaking north, things are actually set to become far worse. These are no 'intrusions'. These are invitations.
Via Het Laatste Nieuws Online:
Read this and cry:
"The Catholic Education works on a school model wherein other religions and philosophies will get a much larger role. This means that muslims and people of other faiths, on schools where they constitute a large number, will get their own places [of worship].
There will be more tolerance for religious symbols like the headscarf, possibly special rooms to pray near the catholic chapel, and islamic lessons or trips as a voluntary out of school activity.
"It's an ambitious project, but studies show that our identity is completely watering down if we do nothing. We offer our schools a mirror to set the next step", says top honcho for Flemish Catholic Schools Lieven Boeve.
Guimard Street [so called because it's the turf of the main leading institutions and organizations of catholic education in Flanders - MFBB] wants to use the model of the "dialogue" school to attract more muslim students, but also to reinforce catholic identity. "It is no longer the intention to persuade muslims or people of other faiths to our own great truths", posits co-founder of the Dialogue Schools Didier Pollefeyt (Catholic University of Leuven). "We want to make muslims, people of other faiths and ourself feel stronger. We are not going to mix religions, but in a Dialogue School there will be, apart from a Christian chapel, also a space for muslims to pray, there will be place for the headscarf".
My oh my what gobbledegook. This is by far the most lunatic mission I have seen catholic schools embark upon in my life.
Some debunking is in order, although I feel I a bulldozer would be preferable over a keyboard:
a.) "This means that muslims and people of other faiths, on schools where they constitute a large number, will get their own places [of worship]"
This is a ridiculous spin to make it look like it's not especially aimed at accommodating muslims. In the Belgian school network, there are basically only two religions present "in large numbers". Christianity and islam. Christianity is declining sharply. Islam is on the ascendance. In Antwerp, 52 per cent of students in basic and high school are no longer autochton. The truly overwhelming majority of these 52 per cent are... muslim. There may be a scattering of Hindu students in some schools (also in Brussels) or the token Buddhist, but that's about it. And Jews as a whole number a paltry 20,000 on a Belgian population of 11 million. Ergo, those who issue this communique should have the honesty to call this initiative what it is: yet another kneefall for islam.
b.) "There will be more tolerance for religious symbols like the headscarf, possibly special rooms to pray near the catholic chapel, and islamic lessons or trips as a voluntary out of school activity."
The result will merely be an acceleration of segregation, and even more psychological pressure on the dwindling number of female muslims students who do not don the hijab yet to follow the example of the zealots.
c.) "It's an ambitious project, but studies show that our identity is completely watering down if we do nothing."
Who's responsible for these "studies"? The Centre for Equal Opportunities and Combating Racism [CGKR, now rebaptized Unia - MFBB]? OF COURSE the identity of Catholic Schools is watering down, if you do not even believe what you stand for. If teachers are ASHAMED to cast a cross before class. If Christian religion teachers admit they do not consider themselves Christian anymore. This is basically the equivalent of a guy floating in a life jacket in the middle of the ocean who, upon discovering his jacket is leaking, decides that the best strategy to counter the problem is to merrily punch another hole in it!
c.) "Guimard Street wants to use the model of the "dialogue" school to attract more muslim students, but also to reinforce catholic identity."
Muslim students are coming anyway, what with the truly catastrophic fertility rate among autochtons. As for the "Dialogue School" reinforcing Catholic Identity, I just wonder, is the author of that concept perhaps the guy from the local funny farm who walks around with a paper hat and his right hand tucked in his vest, proclaiming he is Napoleon? Because this laughable excuse of an "idea" boils down to Catholic Schools reinforcing their identity... by expressing LESS of their identity!!! This is like preparing yourself for a math exam by studying sociology. Or announcing you are going to increase the appeal of your golf school by offering courses in knitting.
d.) "We are not going to mix religions, but in a Dialogue School there will be, apart from a Christian chapel, also a space for muslims to pray, there will be place for the headscarf"."
Given the very obvious tolerance of muslims for other faiths, it can be safely assumed that fifteen years from now, that "catholic chapel" next to the islamic prayer room will be used as a place to stock automatic weapons and explosives, and the Catholic School itself will have become a madrassah.
We have met the mastermind of this insane plan, Lieven Boeve, before. In March 2014, I had a post dealing with the decision - just as idiotic - of the Catholic University of Louvain to offer a chair "Islamic Theology". You can find that post here.
Lieven Boeve is the guy - although it would be far more correct to refer to him as eunuch - to the left.
Back then, I labeled him a quisling already.
Turns out, I could not have been more right.
PS: Vlaams Belang has as always shown true grit and a fitting lightning quick reaction: you can visit this ad hoc site, protest by sending a mail to that lunatic, and in the same breath ask that he resign. Which I did. Twice today, actually. Before I used that site, I asked him directly by mail. Although I don't suppose he will listen. Kind of difficult with ears and a brain full of shit.