February 27, 2019

More fraudulent research from Tilburg University

Filed under: General,Religion,Science by Orangemaster @ 2:09 pm

Back in 2011, we told you about Professor Diederik Stapel who was disgraced from the Tilburg University for making up a whopping pile of research, and eventually went corporate in 2013.

The Tilburg University is back in the news with another PhD student making up research. Mohammad Nazar Soroush obtained his PhD with research into the lives of young Salafists in the Netherlands. However, he was caught faking conversations as well as visits to mosques that never happened, but may keep his PhD title. Professor Ruben Gowricham who helped Soroush can no longer be involved with granting PhDs and Soroush’s doctoral advisor has been reprimanded as well.

Gowricham has a business that makes money from doctoral candidates such as Soroush to the tune of thousands of euro a year. As well, Gowricham would receive 35,000 euro from Tilburg University per successful doctoral candidate. Two Islamist associations complained about the PhD, saying things in it were fabricated. Soroush used a supposed Salafist logo that is in fact not used by Salafists, and more of these kinds of details raised many red flags.

Although Soroush may keep his title, he has been asked not to distribute his thesis. He has also been asked to publish the fact that his thesis is based on insufficient evidence. People are surprised that he can still keep his title at this point, but the university claims that revoking it goes a bit too far. His credibility is definitely questionable, which will follow him around for a long time.

(Link: omroepbrabant.nl)

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March 29, 2014

The Hague refuses to swear in Muslim council member

Filed under: Religion by Branko Collin @ 10:11 am

old-city-hall-the-hague-pdHasan Kücük of the Islam-Democraten was chided as if he were a child when he wanted to take the oath in order to become a council member of the the city of The Hague. “You know the text is different”, Mayor Jozias van Aartsen said last Thursday during the swearing-in ceremony.

Kücük had said “Zo waarlijk helpe mij Allah” (“so help me Allah”). According to Parool council members may choose from only one of two phrases for the swearing in, “so help me God” and “I promise”.

Confessional paper Trouw added that the rules actually differ per municipality. In the past, the paper said, civil servants of Amsterdam sometimes used the words “as Allah the merciful is my witness”. A spokesperson for the Ministry of the Interior said in defence of practices like that of The Hague that “the name ‘God’ doesn’t have refer to the Christian god.”

It turns out the Dutch armed forces are the least bigoted of government institutions, perhaps for reasons of tradition. When Indonesia, a largely Islamic country, was still a part of the Netherlands called Dutch India, its officers were allowed to swear an oath on Allah. A spokesperson for the Ministry of Defence said that “one’s religion should not interfere with one’s duty, but an oath doesn’t do that”.

(Photo: public domain photo from Wikimedia Commons)

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November 27, 2011

Tiny Greenbox Museum of Arabic art is big on Facebook

Filed under: Art by Branko Collin @ 12:25 pm

“The Kröller-Müller Museum has 205 [Facebook] fans”, Bright writes, “Museum De Pont has 2,537 fans, Rijksmuseum [Amsterdam] has 6,663 fans, Stedelijk Museum has 17,867 fans, and the Van Gogh Museum has 26,191 fans”

“The Greenbox Museum of Contemporary Art of Saudi Arabia is only open 12 hours a week and consists of single room. Yet it has 170,000 Facebook fans.”

According to the tech mag, that makes it the largest Dutch museum on Facebook. As a reason for its popularity, founder and curator Aarnout Helb told weblog Frankwatching that there are no modern art museums in Saudi Arabia itself. “Saudi Arabia is the historical and cultural heart of the Islam. Our fans come from the countries that lie between Tanger in Morocco and Port Darwin in Australia. We have 27,637 fans from India, 26,991 from Indonesia, 22,951 from Egypt [and so on].”

Helb started the museum on the Korte Leidsedwarsstraat in Amsterdam out of curiosity and to upgrade his multi-cultural roots. “There used to be a professor Snouck Hurgronje who had visited Mekka, and who advised the government that you could take the sting out of the European relationship with the Muslims, not with soldiers and guns, but with a dialogue in the city that draws so many Muslims each year. I had read his advice once, and I had also noticed that the 9-11 attackers weren’t from Afghanistan but from Saudi Arabia. They must have had some reason [to attack the USA], and sending a battalion of soldiers to the wrong country is not going to help you find out what that reason was.”

(Snouck Hurgronje lived from 1857 – 1936. Back then the Netherlands were a largely Islamic kingdom, although the Christians were the ones in power.)

(Photo: Greenbox Museum)


August 3, 2011

The best places to live in the Netherlands

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 9:42 am

In a tongue-in-cheek article, daily De Pers figured out the ideal Dutch towns to live in for large groups of people:

For the poor, Vaals (in the Southernmost tip of the country), because it is apparently easy to get social security there. The town wants to crack down on social security tourism though.

For the gays, Hillegom (South of Haarlem), of which the Pink City Guide of Bureau Movisie says it’s the gay friendliest town in the country. The municipality is working on a policy to support eldery gays, amongst others.

For the elderly, Kerkrade (Limburg). The paper quotes a citizen as saying: “Perhaps we can even draw older people from the rest of the country or even from abroad, because growing old in Kerkrade is fun.” It doesn’t say why it is fun.

For muslims, Alblasserdam (near Rotterdam). The town sports the highest percentage of muslims in the country.

For the handicapped, Huizen (East of Amsterdam), which is quick in allotting funds for medical needs.

For the Polish, Venray (Limburg), which realizes it will always need seasonal workers, so why not be nice to them.

For the drug addicted both Amersfoort (near Utrecht) and Utrecht (near Amersfoort). Junkies get free beer in the former town, and free methadone in the latter. (Pretty girls get free beer in Weert, Limburg. From the bar owners, that is.)

For the students, Sittard (Limburg), as it has the cheapest student housing of the country.

And finally, for sailors, the devoutly religious town of Urk (near nowhere in particular) which refuses to charge boat owners money for delivering electricity and water on Sundays, as that would constitute working on a Sabbath.

(Photo: an abandoned looking factory in Huizen)

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October 24, 2010

Christians harass Muslim asylum seekers

Filed under: Religion by Branko Collin @ 3:36 pm

The Stichting Gave (Gift Foundation) has been trying to win souls for their Christian faith at Dutch refugee camps, and they do not even realise what they are doing wrong. A volunteer told Nederlands Dagblad:

We are being accused of preying on the uncertainty that asylum seekers experience. I can partly understand the accusation, but it’s wrong. We want to show asylum seekers […] that there is a God who transcends the position they are in.

After reports came in that some of the foundation’s volunteers had been pressuring Muslim refugees into converting to Christianity by claiming that their asylum requests would be denied if they did not convert, the foundation had its access to the refugee camps restricted by COA, the organization that runs the camps.

When did this happen? Half a year ago, and the news was mostly reported on in the religious press. I would have certainly missed it if Stichting Gave hadn’t come out with a ‘study’ last week that claims that Muslim asylum seekers are physically attacking Christian asylum seekers. That last story got a lot of attention in the press, in the parliament and elsewhere, perhaps because it much better fits the tired narrative we’re used to.

According to Geen Commentaar, the Stichting Gave study consists entirely of an inventory of rumours. A good starting point for more research perhaps, but certainly not the collection of facts that the press suggest it is.

See also: Convert to Christianity and get citizenship for free.

(Photo: COA)

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September 11, 2009

HEMA ready for end-of-Ramadan feast

Filed under: Dutch first by Branko Collin @ 8:33 am

This is an ad aimed at people celebrating Eid ul-Fitr (known in Dutch as Suikerfeest), a feast that marks the end of the Ramadan (the Muslim fast), which appeared this week in the brochure of HEMA, a large and popular Dutch chain store.

I have never seen this type of advertising before, where a Dutch mainstream brand specifically addresses 5% of the population who are part of an Islamic culture, but what do I know? The commenters at Wij Blijven Hier, where I found this story (Dutch), seem to confirm my guess that this is a new thing though.

A couple of years ago, new media organisation Mediamatic.net tried to merge the HEMA with the Islamic design aesthetic in a project called El HEMA. The real HEMA first frowned at this clear misuse of their brand, but they soon turned around, even offering to take place in the jury of the related design contest. A commenter at Mediamatic’s site makes clear the importance of HEMA in defining and contrasting what we perceive of Dutch culture:

You enter a space where you cannot read a single letter, and yet you think: what do you know, I am at the HEMA. And even though you cannot read the price tags, you are sure the products cannot be expensive. After all, you are at the HEMA.

Related: HEMA essential brand, followed by 8 o’clock news.

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June 10, 2009

Hate speech against Muslims, Jews and gays still high

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 9:52 am

Meldpunt Discriminatie Internet, where you can report Internet occurrences of hate speech, has just published its year report for 2008 (PDF, Dutch). The amount of hate speech aimed at the dark-skinned, at Muslims, Jews and gays remains high. MDI counted 899 criminal utterances last year, down from 1078 utterances in 2007. Complaints about discriminatory utterances led to removal of the speech in 91% of the cases. MDI reported 7 instances of hate speech to the police last year.

(Via the print version of De Pers, Image: thesituationist)

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