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Passion Islam I July 2008 SPECIAL FEATURE I 27
religion from the state. So now the onus ethnic minorities is around 20 percent, studentat such schools are free to chose
of building Masjids has been left to the though this segment forms only five either Arabic or Turkish as a second
Islamic organizations. percent of the labor force. The government language. Itis also expected that this year
Even in the private sector, Muslims is therefore working toward improving (2000) a Muslim secondary school will be
enjoy a measure of freedom, such as the lot of this segment of the society in established in Rotterdam.
flexible hours during the fasting month Holland, and integrating them within the Islam and Islamic studies, including
of Ramadhan, while some enterprises Dutch society as a whole, not only by Arabic and other Muslims languages,
allocate special prayer areas for their providing employment opportunities for are also given their due importance at
Muslim workers. them, but also by teaching them skills and the higher level of education, and there
Circumcision is practiced in many of the the Dutch language. are several lecturers who lecture on such
hospitals in Holland, while the wearing of The government of Holland is now in the subjects at the university level. AT the
the Hijab by Muslim women has become process of initiating the appointment of University of Amsterdam there is a Chair
a common sight at schools and at Muslim chaplains in prisons and asylums, for Islamic Studies and it is funded by
university campuses. But at some of the and for this purpose will form an Advisory private organizations.
private schools the practice is somewhat Commission, for purposes of reference. In 1998, the Dutch Institute for Islamic
discouraged, and there is nothing that the Thus, in order to take care of the Studies in the Contemporary World was
government could do about it, since they spiritual life of the inmates of prisons, the opened in Leiden, and, as the name
enjoy a large measure of freedom to run government in Holland would shoulder the implies, it focuses mainly on Islamic
their affairs. responsibility of paying the salaries and studies. The government is also funding
As far as slaughterhouses are concerned, other emoluments of such appointees, the training of Imams, as it does with
and in keeping with the practice in other provided the appointees can carry out other religious denominations. At the
European Union countries, the government their duties using the Dutch language. moment, about 50 Imams are drawn from
of Holland has set aside special abattoirs There are denominational schools in Turkey and Morocco every year, and the
for slaughtering animals according to the Holland, such as those of the Catholics first year of their residence is used by
Islamic Sharia. Thus there are more than and the Protestants, but the Muslims the government to induct them in Dutch
500 Islamic slaughterhouses, out of a also have about 30 such schools. But the society, and this includes the learning of
total number of 4,500. secular curriculum applies to all, while the Dutch language.
But the government of Hollands policy education is compulsory for all, so that no Such induction courses are followed by
is that of social integration, regardless of segment of the society can be left behind examinations not only in the language,
religious affiliation, though some of the as far as education is concerned. but also to assess the ability of the fresh
ethnic minorities suffer from a number of Public schools are free to introduce waves of Imams.
drawbacks, such as the linguistic barrier religious education, and in this connection Photo shows: Mevlana Majsid, in
and other stumbling blocks. both Islamic and Christian studies Rotterdam which is one of many masjids
The rate of unemployment among the are taught in many such schools. The first built in Holand.
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