Tuesday, June 11

Topics of the day

Since the late 1990s, politicians in The Netherlands have begun criticizing the “multicultural society”. Since then, anti-immigrant parties such as Wilders’ recent Freedom Party have become electorally successful. Recently, chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany public ally declared that the multicultural society has failed. She stirred up quite a debate. Many politicians agree, whilst some are horrified by her statement. Others claim that the multicultural society is simply a fact that Europe was unprepared for and still needs to adjust to. Today, we will discuss many aspects of multicultural Holland with leading experts.

Nadia Bouras will start by talking from an insider’s perspective about the role of a group that is often criticized: Dutch Moroccans. She aims to distinguish between facts and fiction. With Ineke van der Valk, author of a well-received book on this topic, we will talk about Islamofobia. Senior Fellow Umar Ikram will share insights from his research on ethnic discrimination. After lunch, well-known professor Meindert Fennema will give a lecture on how Wilders and other right wing politicians use this fear for the other in their politics. Then Afshin Ellian, famous in The Netherlands for his radical views on political Islam, will be open for a discussion on the tension between freedom of speech and the prohibition of hate speech. Finally, the day will be closed by the life stories of two ladies Khadija and Semra, who will talk about the difficulties of being raised in a Western society by a migrant family.

Amnesty International & HIA office, Keizersgracht 177, Amsterdam
Rosa Parks Room, ground floor

The Multicultural Society
Freedom of speech, part 2

09.00 – 09.30 Introducing the day – Nienke Venema
09.30 – 11.00 ‘Moroccans in the Netherlands: past and present’
by Nadia Bouras, historian
11.00 – 11.15 Coffee & Tea
11.15 – 12.30 ‘Islamofobia in The Netherlands’
by Ineke van der Valk, researcher
12.30 – 13.15 ‘Public Health research: Is perceived ethnic discrimination linked to depression in Dutch ethnic minorities?
by Umar Ikram, physician, researcher at the Academic Medical Center, the University of Amsterdam, and HIA Senior Fellow
13.15 – 14.00 Lunch at Amnesty
14. 00 -15.30 ‘Rise and fall of anti-immigration politics’
by Meindert Fennema, emeritus professor in Political Theory at the University of Amsterdam.
15.30 – 15.45 Coffee & Tea
15.45 – 17.00 ‘Freedom of speech’
by Afshin Ellian, professor of law, philosopher and critic of political Islam
17.00 -18.30 ‘Raised as a Muslim girl in a migrant family: two different stories’
Discussion with Semra Celebi, Senior Fellow and Board HIA, Khadija Azahaf, Foundation Intercultural Alliance and Doutje Lettinga, Senior Fellow and expert in gender, migrant and discrimination issues.

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