By Sharida Mohamedjoesoef, Ramadan Roundup IV for the Amsterdam Weekly
This time, no story from a stately canal house, a state-of-the-art glass terminal or some posh theatre. And no big wigs or cameras in sight either for, this time, your rambling Ramadan reporter set out for De Baarsjes, home to many Muslims and referred to by some as
The sun had already set when I finally arrived at my destination, a small community centre near Mercatorplein. Dozens of people of various age groups and ethnic backgrounds were merrily chatting away while waiting for the debate to start. Insofar as I
The panel consisted of five people, each representing one of the three main monotheistic traditions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Hats off to the only woman on board, Maimunah van der Heide; without getting down to the theological nuts and bolts, she still made it quite clear that many Muslims often mix religion up with culture and that cultural practices are more and more being elevated to the level of religion.
Black-veiled Van der Heide knows what she
Van der Heide as well as the other panelists knew their religious ABC, but the fact is that ordinary believers often do not. Big deal, you might think, but it
Ay, there's the rub: ever wondered what happens if clueless non-Muslims start taking their cues from the equally clueless young secular Mohammads and Fatimas from the local shop around the corner, or from radical Islamic websites? For one thing, you could end up with a teacher at an ordinary secondary school telling you that, according to Islam, only girls have to stay virgins or that according to that same religion, newly weds must show a bloodstained sheet after their wedding night to prove that the bride really was a virgin. Speculation? I wish... There
P.S. you can search the Koran all you want and still you won