Van der Valk's newest book discusses the phenomenon of Islamophobia in a number of ways in which it is expressed in the Netherlands.
The book starts with a theoretical introduction, in which an assessment is given of how Islam/Muslims are viewed in the Netherlands. This is done on the basis of a comprehensive study of their representation throughout the history.
A number of surveys of contemporary attitudes towards Islam/Muslims are critically discussed. A separate chapter reports findings of studies about attitudes and discriminatory practices of youngsters and secondary school pupils, as well as findings about the representation of Muslims in textbooks and stereotypes that teachers come across in educational practices.
The changing image of the Netherlands from a country of tolerance to a country of intolerance that has evolved in the last decade, is mainly due to the politics of Geert Wilders and his PVV. Expressions of Islamophobia and discrimination in the political and public arena by the PVV are also covered as are the changing attitudes and policies of the Dutch government that show a growing awareness of the danger of islamophobia.
Data on discrimination in general and of Muslims in particular from different institutions and specialised agencies, from press articles and court cases are also covered. They show that it is a difficult task to present an accurate report on the ‘state of the art’ knowledge on these issues in the Netherlands.
It is striking to see the gap between the discrimination experienced, as it is reported in surveys on the one hand and on the other hand, the numbers of complaints and reports to the police and antidiscrimination agencies as well as the incidents reported in the media.
An overview is provided of acts of violence against the presence of Islamic places of worship that have been perpetrated in the last decade. For the first time administrators of mosques are asked to report their experiences and give their opinions on this issue.
This study is based on a survey of them, on in-depth interviews with some of them, on informal discussions with representatives of organizations as well as on desk research. It gives an informative insight into the situation related to violent incidents against mosques, its prevalence, character and effects. The report concludes with a reflection and recommendations.
The book has been published with the German academic publisher LIT Verlag. If you are interested in purchasing the book, please click here for more information.
Dr Ineke van der Valk is a researcher at the University of Amsterdam, with specialised interest in ethnic diversity, racism and islamophobia. For more information on her work and publications, see her homepage.