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Campaigner kicked out?
Transmission date: 21 May 2006Andy Clark
A victory for intolerance
The New York Times
FRIDAY, MAY 19, 2006
Immigration is a political mess in America, but it's reasonably tractable compared with the problem in the Netherlands, which has seen its liberal values turned inside out by tensions between Muslim immigrants and the Dutch. The question, broadly speaking, is whether multiculturalism is possible in such a small, ethnically homogeneous nation, or whether the government will keep insisting on assimilation. There have been flash points along the way, chief among them the 2004 murder of the filmmaker Theo van Gogh by a Muslim extremist. Now there's a new one: the resignation of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who was born in Somalia, from Parliament.
When she sought refuge in the Netherlands in 1992, she gave a false birth date and a false name. She has said so publicly several times. She has explained that she was trying to escape the marriage her family had arranged for her. After a brief investigation, the Dutch immigration minister, Rita Verdonk, who is a member of the same party, insisted on the letter of the law and initially declared that Hirsi Ali's citizenship was never valid. Under pressure, Verdonk has agreed to reconsider.
But the real point, of course, is that Hirsi Ali has become too potent a social critic to be tolerated any longer. In her resignation speech, she said, "I wanted to put the oppression of immigrant women - especially Muslim women - squarely on the Dutch political agenda." This debacle is the measure of her success.
In the script of van Gogh's film, "Submission," and in her speeches and books - including "The Caged Virgin," which has just been published here - Hirsi Ali has been an unflinching advocate of women's rights and an unflinching critic of Islamic extremism. Her life has been threatened, and she is still in real danger. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, whose real name is Ayaan Hirsi Magan, says she plans to leave the Netherlands for the United States. She should be welcomed under either name.
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The New York Times
May 19, 2006
Religious Left Struggles to Find Unifying Message
By NEELA BANERJEE
WASHINGTON, May 18 — They had come to All Souls Unitarian Church, 1,200 of them from 39 states, to wrest the mantle of moral authority from conservative Christians, and they were finally planning how to take their message to those in power.
After rousing speeches on Wednesday by liberal religious leaders like Rabbi Michael Lerner of the magazine Tikkun and Sister Joan Chittister, a Benedictine nun, participants in the new Network of Spiritual Progressives split into small groups to prepare for meetings with members of Congress on Thursday.
Yet at a session on ethical behavior, including sexual behavior, the 50 or so activists talked little about what to tell Congress about abortion or same-sex marriage. Instead, the Rev. Ama Zenya of First Congregational Church in Oakland, Calif., urged them to talk to one another about their spiritual values and "to practice fully our authentic being."
Kimberly Crichton, a Washington lawyer and Quaker, grew impatient. "I think we would be more effective if we focused on specific legislation," Ms. Crichton said. "Are we going to discuss specific policies?"
Ms. Zenya replied: "What we envisioned this time is saying we are a religious voice. More relationship-building, consciousness-raising."
The man in the pew in front of Ms. Crichton translated: "The answer is, no."
Since the last presidential election, liberals of various faiths have talked about taking back religion from the conservative Christians who helped bring President Bush and a Republican Congress to power.
Yet liberal believers have so far been unable to approach, even modestly, the success of the religious right and command the attention of Congress.
Turnout at the Spiritual Activism Conference is high, but if the gathering is any indication, the biggest barrier for liberals may be their regard for pluralism: for letting people say what they want, how they want to, and for trying to include everyone's priorities, rather than choosing two or three issues that could inspire a movement.
"We didn't get on the same page with everyone, and it is about getting on the same page," said the Rev. Tony Campolo, an outspoken liberal Baptist minister from Pennsylvania who once served as a spiritual adviser to President Bill Clinton, and attended the conference. "The thing about the left is that they want everybody to feel good."
Initiatives by liberals have been percolating locally and nationally, from state interfaith alliances in Ohio to counter a powerful conservative Christian movement there to national campaigns to reduce poverty led by liberal evangelicals like the Rev. Jim Wallis.
The Democratic Party itself is wrestling with the best way to shake an image of indifference to religion. Most recently, the party's national chairman, Howard Dean, courted evangelicals by appearing on Pat Robertson's television program, "The 700 Club." In the process, Mr. Dean alienated gay and lesbian supporters of the Democratic Party by misstating the party's platform on same-sex marriage.
Religious leaders at the conference here cautioned that it would take years before liberal believers could match the savvy and strength of conservative Christian groups.
But Rabbi Lerner, the editor of Tikkun, the progressive Jewish magazine, and an organizer of the spiritual progressives' network, rejected the approach that Democrats have so far taken to faith, describing it as window-dressing.
He called on the activists at All Souls Church to define progressive faith, rather than have politicians do it. He said research begun years ago showed that Americans were experiencing a deep spiritual crisis but that only conservative Christians had responded to it, with an agenda that he said "backs the ethos of selfishness and materialism in our society."
"They get away with this because the left isn't even in the relevant ballpark," Rabbi Lerner said. When people on the left "hear talk of a spiritual crisis, they think it's some kind of New Age flakery or a code word for homophobia, sexism and racism," he said.
He urged participants to offer a real alternative to the ideas that many conservative Christian groups promulgate. But identifying those alternatives proved to be the hard part for many at the conference.
Mr. Campolo, the Baptist minister, explained to the participants in a seminar that many people on Capitol Hill were religious, and that to reach them and to establish authority, liberals should rely on the Bible.
"You have no right to be a spiritual leader if you haven't read Scripture," he told the group. "People in Congress respect the Book, even if they don't know what it says. If we don't recognize this, we don't know squat."
A young man with long hair and a tunic challenged Mr. Campolo.
"I thought this was a spiritual progressives' conference," he said. "I don't want to play the game of 'the Bible says this or that,' or that we get validation from something other than ourselves. We should be speaking from our hearts."
Carol Gottesman was urged at her group to speak from her heart about her priority, the environment. A 64-year-old nurse from Hubbard, Ohio, and a Conservative Jew, Ms. Gottesman spoke Thursday with her congressman, Tim Ryan, a Democrat. It was one of dozens of meetings the network had set up.
Mr. Ryan, who had read about the network on the Internet, asked Ms. Gottesman if the group was pushing specific policies.
"No, it's more that we want to take caring and generosity and bring it into everything," she said.
Mr. Ryan responded: "Spread love, not hate. Pretty simple. Do you have a little network back home?"
Ms. Gottesman squared her shoulders proudly and said, "I'm it."
19 May 2006, 11:44
Gay-parade organizer: the march will take place despite ban by Moscow authorities
Moscow, May 19, Interfax - The gay-parade will be held on the scheduled day despite the ban imposed by the Moscow authorities, and an appeal against the ban will be lodged with the Moscow City Court, the march organizer Nikolay Alexeyev told Interfax.
He also stated that ‘since the right to hold marches is sealed in one of the constitutional articles having direct action the march will be held on May 27 as planned and we will appeal against the ban by the Moscow authorities to the Moscow City Court’.
He described the wording of the refusal as ‘an absolutely arbitrary action by the Moscow authorities’. ‘We see in this decision of the Moscow authorities an act of discrimination on sexual orientation grounds which is against the Russian law’, the organizer of the march said.
Alexeyev also stressed that the idea of holding a gay-parade in the Russian capital was supported by the Council of Europe in Strasbourg’.
Friday, May 19, 2006. Page 4.
Gay Parade Fuels Internal Debate
By Mike Eckel
The Associated Press
(Photo) Mikhail Metzel / AP
People on Wednesday standing outside Indigo, a store for gay patrons.
If activist Nikolai Alexeyev has his way, hundreds of gays and lesbians will parade down one of Moscow's main streets later this month in a colorful display of pride and a bold protest against intolerance.
But if most of Moscow's gay community has anything to say about it — not to mention nearly all of Russian society — there will be no parade.
Efforts to stage an unprecedented display of gay pride in Russia are dramatically raising the profile of Moscow's modest homosexual community, but not in the way many had sought.
Right-wing and religious extremists have staged violent protests outside gay nightclubs in recent weeks and forced the cancellation of a cultural festival. Moscow's mayor adamantly opposes holding such a gay parade.
Alexeyev, who runs a gay web site and is the parade's main proponent, says it is time for Russia's gays — around 500,000 to 700,000 in Moscow alone, some estimates say — to exercise their rights.
Others say the recent violence showed it was too early for Russia to witness such a parade.
"We don't have gay society in this country," said Alexei Khodorkovsky, a 32-year-old activist who opposes the parade. "It's not good timing … This will only consolidate forces against us."
On Thursday, city officials declined the request for the parade, Interfax reported.
Russia decriminalized homosexuality 13 years ago, but gay relations are still widely considered unmentionable or even a perversion or mental illness.
Many top Russian officials and religious leaders have made pointed statements against homosexuality in the past year, warning against public displays.
The head of the Russian Orthodox Church warned of "homosexual propaganda." A top Muslim cleric said gay paraders should be "thrashed by decent people." Mayor Yury Luzhkov, called homosexuality "abnormal."
On April 30, dozens of skinheads and elderly women carrying religious icons protested outside a Moscow nightclub. Patrons, who were mainly gay, barricaded themselves inside until police arrived to evacuate them by bus as protesters chanted slurs and threw eggs and trash. Photographs posted on several Russian web sites show an Orthodox priest blessing several of the skinheads. The following night, dozens of youths tried to storm another Moscow nightclub but were rebuffed by riot police. That same day, a building that was hosting an art exhibit as part of a gay festival called "Rainbows Without Borders" was torched.
Elena Kidanova, who manages Moscow's only gay products store and runs a group called Tolerance, said holding a parade is less important than pushing for anti-discrimination legislation.
"We have nothing in this country," she said. "We don't exist."
キャンドルパレード：エイズへの差別や偏見なくそう－－２１日に京都市内 (毎日・京都版 2006/05/19朝刊)
存在認める雰囲気を 性同一性障害児 主治医の一問一答
性同一性障害児受け入れ 小学校長が対応文書 教職員の研修会など開催 (読売・大阪版 2006/05/19朝刊)
学籍上は男児と記載 「学校側の配慮」 性同一性障害受け入れ
「児童の健全な発達が一番大きな課題だろうと思います。まだ幼い児童ですので、成長段階に応じて適切な対応がいると思っています」（兵庫県教育委員会 岡野幸弘 次長）
兵庫：性同一性障害男児『女児』で受け入れ 医師の診断を重視 1
Boy, 7, at school as girl
The Yomiuri Shimbun 2005/05/19
A 7-year-old boy in Hyogo Prefecture is enrolled and attends primary school as a girl since doctors diagnosed that he has gender identity disorder, sources in local education authorities said Thursday.
The local board of education said that after consultation with his family, it decided to accept the student, now in the second grade, as a female, in accordance with the wishes of the boy and his parents and the judgment of the doctor.
The Education, Science and Technology Ministry said it is extremely rare for school officials to accept the fact of gender identity disorder in a primary school student.
According to the local board, the boy developed symptoms of gender identity disorder when he was 5.
He came to hate being assigned to boys groups in the nursery school he attended and had repeatedly refused to eat for days at a time.
In January last year, before the boy enrolled in the primary school, his grandmother consulted the local board of education, after a medical specialist tested the boy and diagnosed gender identity disorder.
According to the sources the doctor advised the family that while it was not known whether the disorder would continue for life, it may be better for the boy to be given consideration as the occasion may demand, so that he could live his life easily.
His parents consulted with school and the board of education officials, and the officials decided to accept him at the school as a girl.
(May. 19, 2006)
Japan beats taboo by letting boy act as girl
Justin McCurry in Tokyo
Friday May 19, 2006
A seven-year-old Japanese boy with a gender identity disorder has been given permission to attend school as a girl in another sign that the country is relaxing its traditionally rigid attitude towards sexual identity. Local media reported yesterday that the boy, who has not been named, was diagnosed with the disorder before he started primary school in April.
He is said to have complained that he felt uncomfortable being a boy and asked his parents if he could have a sex-change operation. Japan's first such procedure took place in 1998, but patients must be aged 20 or over.
The school, in Kobe, western Japan, agreed to enroll him as a girl after consulting his parents and doctors in what is thought to be the first decision of its kind in Japan. According to reports, he will be allowed to use the girls' bathrooms and changing facilities, and to wear girls PE kit. Only his teachers have been informed of his condition.
An estimated 10,000 Japanese say they have some form of gender identity disorder - a belief that they were born the wrong gender and a wish to live, socially and physically, as members of the opposite sex.
In 2004 they won a significant victory when the law was changed to allow some transsexuals to alter their name and gender on official documents. A year earlier Aya Kamikawa became the first transsexual to enter politics when she won a seat on a local assembly in Tokyo.
Last year doctors agreed to relax the conditions for sex-change operations that had required patients to gain approval from a medical ethics committee. But the country's transsexuals say they have some way to go before they are fully accepted.
A 44-year-old who had fathered two children before changing sex recently failed to register her new gender after a court said it would "confuse" her sons, aged 12 and 14. The revised law allows only transsexuals who are over 19, single and childless and have undergone a sex change to change their official gender.
Boy enrols as girl in Japan
From: Agence France-Presse
From correspondents in Tokyo
May 18, 2006
A JAPANESE school board is allowing a pupil who is biologically a boy to enrol as a girl in a social breakthrough hailed by transgender activists.
The seven-year-old was diagnosed a year ago with gender identity disorder.
He has been admitted to the school as a girl, said Yukihiro Okano, deputy superintendent of education in the western prefecture of Hyogo.
"The child is very small now. We will deal with the case at various phases of growth to meet the person's needs," Okano told a news conference today.
The parents had asked authorities to admit the pupil as a girl because of the child's female behaviour.
The school has not observed any trouble related to the pupil, Okano added.
The case is groundbreaking in Japan, where it can be difficult to gain public understanding on the issue, said Ran Yamamoto, who heads an organisation supporting people with gender identity disorder.
"This person will go through adolescence and become more conscious about her body. How the person will go through that phase is a big question," she said.
"But the local community and her parents appear to have been very considerate of the needs of the child. That is very fortunate," Yamamoto said.
The pupil should receive monitoring and counselling, she added.
"It would be wonderful if those concerned could create a situation in which the person would be able to express her true self," she said.
In July 2004, Japan introduced a landmark law for transsexuals that has allowed hundreds of people to register under a different gender after sex change operations.
Previously such people had been obliged to present birth records that showed them to be of a different gender when they sought jobs or housing.
Japanese School Lets Boy, 7, Enroll as a Girl
Thursday, May 18, 2006
TOKYO — A young boy who believes he was born the wrong sex was allowed to enroll as a girl at an elementary school in southwestern Japan, a school official said Thursday.
The seven-year-old boy entered the school as a girl in April 2005 after he was diagnosed with gender identity disorder at age six, a spokesman for the local school board said. The Japanese school year starts in April.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to protect the identity of the boy and his school district, said the boy's name is listed with girl students and that he is allowed to join the girls' gym class and use the girls' bathroom. The boy, who's in the second grade, wears a girl's swimsuit at the school pool.
"At this point, we are relieved that the child was accepted into first grade and is being raised in a healthy manner," the official said.
The school is in the southwestern prefecture of Hyogo, about 270 miles west of Tokyo.
The school's decision is highly out of character for Japan's public school system, which is known for learning by rote and has little tolerance for children who don't fit in. Awkward children can be mercilessly bullied by other students.
The Tokyo Shimbun newspaper reported that the boy's name could be both a boy's or a girl's, and that he had preferred girl's clothing from a young age. The school has not told other parents about the switch, and it was unclear whether any of the students knew the boy's gender.
The school official said that there had not been any complaints from other students or from the boy's parents since his enrollment. He said the school district would watch his case closely and reassess the decision as the boy reaches puberty.
Katsuki Harima, a psychiatrist specializing in gender identity disorder at Tokyo Musashino Hospital, said the decision to allow the boy to enroll as a girl seemed appropriate, but would get complicated as he grew older.
Harima said the boy is not old enough to really determine whether he has the disorder. A boy who behaves like a girl does not necessarily mean he has gender identity disorder, and he could discover as he grows up that he wants to be male, Harima said.
"I am a bit concerned about the child's future," he added, saying he has never heard of a case like this before at an elementary school. "There will be problems."
Japan primary school accepts boy as girl
Updated: 2006-05-18 14:08
A Japanese primary school is allowing a 7-year-old boy with a gender identity disorder to take part in school life as a girl, an unprecedented move in this conservative nation, local media said on Thursday.
The decision marks a growing awareness in Japan of gender identity disorder, in which patients feel they are trapped in the wrong gender's body, although transgendered people and transsexuals still face widespread discrimination.
According to media reports, the boy in Hyogo, western Japan, was diagnosed with gender identity disorder before starting primary school after complaining that he felt uncomfortable with being a boy.
Based on the diagnosis and consultations with the boy's parents, the school is allowing him to participate as a girl, including using girls' bathrooms and attending swimming class in a girl's bathing suit.
Officials at the Hyogo board of education issued a statement neither confirming nor denying the reports, but saying they would protect the student's human rights and privacy.
Sex change operations have been legal in Japan since 1998 but are not permitted until patients become legal adults at 20. Preparatory hormone treatments are allowed from age 18.
In what was hailed as a major step forward, people with gender identity disorder -- whose numbers are estimated at more than 10,000, according to Kyodo news agency -- won the right in 2003 to change their gender on key identity documents under strict conditions.
Authorities had previously refused to allow gender changes except in the case of "mistakes."
Boy diagnosed as suffering gender disorder enrolled in elementary school as girl (Mainichi Daily News 2006/05/18)
KOBE -- In a rare move, a 7-year-old boy diagnosed as suffering a gender identity disorder has been enrolled in a public elementary school as a girl, the local board of education said Thursday.
The public elementary school situated in Hyogo Prefecture admitted the child as a girl in April last year at the request of the child's parents.
It is extremely rare that a lower-grade elementary school child has been officially recognized as a patient with gender identity disorder even though a special law enacted in 2004 allows adults with such a disorder to change their gender in their family registries.
The municipal board of education believes classmates are unaware of the child's physical gender. "When the child was enrolled in the school, all the teachers were informed of the situation, but we didn't report it to the prefectural board of education or the parents of other children. Classmates are apparently unaware of the child's physical gender," a board official said.
"We'd like to be fully prepared to respond if the child wants to return to his original physical gender in the future," the official added.
The child has apparently felt a strong identification with the opposite sex since his infancy, preferring to wear skirts and play with stuffed toy animals, according to the board of education. The child resisted when his parents attempted to persuade him to join his elder brother's baseball club, and was unable to eat for several days.
When the child's mother consulted a local hospital, a doctor in charge advised her to let the child do whatever he liked to do regardless of his gender. The child was happy after being allowed to dress as a girl when attending a nursery school and when wearing a bikini in a swimming pool.
To be enrolled in the elementary school as a girl, the child underwent an examination at an Osaka hospital where an expert officially diagnosed a gender identity disorder.
The parents then submitted to the school a medical certificate recognizing the child as a patient with a gender identity disorder. After the school and board met with the child's parents, the child was enrolled in the school as a girl.
The child uses restrooms for girls and undergoes medical checkups with girls, but has not caused any particular trouble. (Mainichi)
Thursday May 18, 1:58 PM
2ND LD: Japan school accepts boy with gender identity disorder as girl
(Kyodo) _ (EDS: ADDING INFO)
An elementary school in Hyogo Prefecture, western Japan, has accepted a 7-year-old boy with a gender identity disorder as a girl, and the pupil is leading a normal school life, a local education board said Thursday.
The second-year pupil was diagnosed before he entered school as suffering from the disorder, in which a person has a gender identity opposite to his or her biological sex, according to a board official.
The boy, who has loved stuffed animals and liked wearing skirts since before his school enrollment, has consulted with his parents if he can have his male genitalia removed, the official said.
In January 2005, the education board began to study if it could approve a request from the parents to accept the boy as a girl at school.
The boy was then diagnosed in a hospital in the neighboring Osaka Prefecture as suffering from gender identity disorder. A doctor advised the education board to prepare an easy place for the boy to lead his life.
Following talks with the parents from January through March, the education board and the school decided to treat the pupil as a girl, the official said.
Since entering school in April, the boy has undergone health checks with girls and uses girls' restrooms while attending swimming lessons in a girl's swimsuit, the official said.
School mates have been interacting with the boy as a girl.
His name is written in the list of girls in his class, the official said.
Teachers have been informed of the circumstances of the boy's entrance to school as a girl, but not to the boy's schoolmates and their parents.
Experts said it is unprecedented in Japan for a child to be diagnosed with the disorder before developing secondary sex characteristics and for a school to accept such a child as a member of the opposite gender.
An education ministry official said there are no known cases in which a boy with the disorder has been accepted as a girl at a school.
Schools should deal with students flexibly in accordance with their situations listening to the advice of doctors and experts, the ministry official said.
More than 10,000 people are estimated to be suffering from the disorder in Japan but detailed situations are not known.
A law came into force in Japan in July 2004 to allow adults with the disorder to change their official gender registrations under certain conditions.
Under the law, family courts across the country approved 208 out of the 249 sex-change registration applications made in a one-year period since the law took effect, a citizens group which supports people with the disorder said.
School enrolls gender-confused boy as girl
KOBE, Japan, May 18 (UPI) -- A Japanese elementary school has accepted a 7-year-old boy, diagnosed as suffering from a gender identity disorder, as a girl, local media reported Thursday.
It is extremely rare in Japan for such a young child to be officially recognized as having a gender identity disorder, even though a law enacted in 2004 allows adults with such a disorder to change their gender in their family registries, the Mainichi Shimbun reported Thursday.
The boy, in Hyogo prefecture in western Japan, was diagnosed with the condition before starting primary school. From early childhood he showed a preference for girls' clothing, toys and games, his parents said.
A doctor recommended he be allowed to follow his preferences.
In accordance with the diagnosis and at the request of the child's parents, the public elementary school allowed him to enroll as a girl.
The child uses restrooms for girls and undergoes medical checkups with girls, but has not caused any particular trouble.
The Japan Times 2006/05/19
Fukui library pulls books on gender issues on complaint
By ERIC JOHNSTON
OSAKA -- A library in Fukui Prefecture has become the latest flash point in the struggle over gender equality after it was learned that 150 books on women's issues and gender studies were removed from the shelves.
Last week, it was discovered that the Fukui Prefectural Center for Lifelong Planning in the city of Fukui had removed the books in late March after receiving a complaint from a local resident that the books gave extreme views on gender.
Riyuko Sadaike, head of the center, said there was no political or ideological reason for removing the books. She claimed the books were removed for the staff to investigate if the complaint was valid.
"We concluded there was no basis for the complaint, and all 150 books were returned to their original positions Tuesday," Sadaike said.
But upon hearing of the books' removal, 45 people, including Harumi Kondaiji, a town assemblywoman for Tsuruga in the prefecture, filed a protest with Fukui Gov. Issei Nishikawa, claiming the removal violated freedom of expression.
She also said that not putting out books paid for with tax money was tantamount to a misuse of public funds.
When a member of the library's management monitoring committee complained last November about the books, the library said they were necessary for public education and did not remove them, according to Kondaiji.
"However, at the end of March, they were just suddenly removed from public display," the assemblywoman said.
Sadaike said last year's complaint was the first the center had received in its nearly 11-year history. She admitted there were problems in the way the center handled the complaint, but would not explain the criteria the facility used to assess complaints.
Asked what would happen if the center received another complaint about the books, she said the library would discuss the most appropriate response to it.
One of the books removed was by prominent feminist scholar Chizuko Ueno.
"The Theater In The Skirt," published in 1992, is a history of woman's underwear in Japan and its role in celebrating or repressing women's sexuality.
The writing is frank and peppered with sexually explicit language.
Ueno has long been a target of the rightwing not just for her vocal support of gender equality but for her criticism of the establishment, particularly her scathing assessment of the emperor system.
In the afterward of "The Theater In the Skirt," she compares a pair of panties with the emperor system. She writes that the underwear and the emperor system both hide the obscene and in doing so they attempt to increase the value of the things they hide.
The incident at the Lifelong Planning center is just the most recent in a long battle between progressive groups promoting publicly funded information and education on gender issues and conservatives, who charge that the material erodes the foundations of the traditional family.
The fight began in 1999 with the enactment of a law requiring local governments to set up gender education centers.
Opponents include such prominent politicians as Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe.
The leading candidate to succeed Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, the hawkish Abe has been cool to gender studies education.
Both the revisionist "Society for Textbook Reform" and local chapters of the Japan Conference have been conducting a sustained campaign against gender education and urge people to petition local centers to remove books they say are biased.
Feminist writer Mariko Mitsui has documented nearly a dozen cases of local governments that have opposed gender education in different ways, ranging from passing referendums that ban the use of "gender free," the Japanese term for gender equality, to pushing for the elimination of educational material on gender issues deemed inappropriate by conservatives.
"It's clear these efforts by local assemblies to attack gender studies are the result of a national movement with access to both money and organizational knowledge," Mitsui said.
The Japan Times: Friday, May 19, 2006
福井：「ジェンダー」書籍戻る / 内閣府に申し入れへ
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali-born Dutch legislator, said Tuesday that she would leave Parliament.
Somali-born Dutch lawmaker welcome in US: Zoellick
Thu May 18, 2006 11:15 AM ET
By Nicola Leske
THE HAGUE (Reuters) - A Somali-born lawmaker who may lose her Dutch citizenship because she lied on her asylum application is welcome to move to the United States, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick said on Thursday.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, an outspoken critic of Islam, said earlier this week she was resigning and leaving the Netherlands after Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk, a member of her own VVD liberal party, told her she might lose her Dutch passport.
Hirsi Ali has been offered a job by the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative Washington-based think tank, and according to media reports had been in negotiations with two other U.S. institutes.
Zoellick, on a visit to the Netherlands, told journalists Hirsi Ali would be admitted to his country.
"The government of the Netherlands is still discussing her ultimate status and that is ... for the Netherlands to determine along the way, but she is obviously welcome to the United States," Zoellick said.
He added that if she did move to the United States her status would depend on decisions taken by the Dutch government and that her special security needs would be attended to.
"I am not going to comment on specific security matters but obviously she needs to be taken care of," Zoellick said.
Hirsi Ali has drawn death threats for her fight for the rights of Muslim women.
She went into hiding in 2004 when an Islamic militant killed Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh after he directed a film Hirsi Ali wrote accusing Islam of suppressing women.
Hirsi Ali returned to parliament a few months later but has continued to live under heavy guard.
Her party colleague Verdonk has come under attack for her move to strip Hirsi Ali of her citizenship and on Wednesday Verdonk reluctantly accepted a demand by parliament to reconsider her decision within six weeks and also look at any new request for citizenship immediately.
"I will explore all options and have invited her to use all options given," Verdonk said on Thursday after speaking with Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende and two deputies.
In a letter Verdonk asked Hirsi Ali to provide her with all information relevant to return her passport, Dutch news agency ANP reported.
On Friday, the Dutch council of ministers will discuss the issue of Hirsi Ali's citizenship.
Hirsi Ali admitted using a false name and date of birth when she arrived in 1992 to stop her family finding her after she fled an arranged marriage with a cousin in Canada.
However, she said that had been public knowledge when the VVD chose her as a candidate in 2002 and that she would appeal.
The New York Times
Muslim's Loss of Dutch Citizenship Stirs Storm
By MARLISE SIMONS
Published: May 18, 2006
PARIS, May 17 — The Dutch immigration minister's decision to cancel the citizenship of a Somali-born Dutch legislator has set off a political storm in the Netherlands, with Parliament demanding that the move be revoked.
At the center of the storm is Ayaan Hirsi Ali, 36, who gained fame — and received death threats — while campaigning against militant Islam and opposing the abuse she said Muslim women suffered even in Europe.
The immigration minister, Rita Verdonk, said she acted Monday after a television program last week that focused on lies Ms. Hirsi Ali told when she sought political asylum in the Netherlands in 1992 and citizenship in 1997. Ms. Verdonk said she had to be evenhanded after several highly publicized cases recently involving immigrants who had also violated rules.
Her action prompted an extraordinary session of Parliament beginning Tuesday that lasted almost 10 hours, until 3 a.m. Wednesday. Members from across the political spectrum fired a barrage of questions and attacks. Some accused Ms. Verdonk of politicking to enhance her own status in the polls for the next elections, when she hopes to become the leader of the conservative VVD Party. She has been called "Iron Rita" because of her tough stance on immigration.
Ms. Verdonk agreed early Wednesday to reconsider her decision after it had become clear that she had been virtually isolated.
Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende said that Ms. Verdonk's decision had been hasty and that Ms. Hirsi Ali, in any case, would continue to receive police protection, as she has since the death threats against her began in 2002.
People who know the immigration minister and Ms. Hirsi Ali say the confrontation between them is puzzling because they have been close political allies and hold similar views, with each saying that Muslims should integrate into life in the Netherlands or leave.
The attacks on the immigration minister reflect the intensity of the debate about large-scale Muslim immigration as one of the most important themes in Dutch politics, and the high profile of Ms. Hirsi Ali in the Netherlands.
Her repeated warnings that militant Islam might be spreading in Europe and her criticisms about the plight of Muslim women in Europe have earned her many admirers. But she also has many detractors, who have described her comments as "Islam bashing" and who say she has made the already difficult integration debate more polarized.
Ms. Hirsi Ali, who has remained outspoken despite the death threats, worked with the Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh on a short film depicting the abuse of Muslim women, for which Mr. van Gogh was killed by a Muslim militant in 2004.
Clearly taken aback by Ms. Verdonk's actions, Ms. Hirsi Ali noted that she had long since admitted that she changed her birth date and her last name when she arrived in the Netherlands because she was fleeing an arranged marriage. She said Dutch social workers had recommended that to gain refugee status she claim to be fleeing Somalia, her homeland, where a civil war raged, rather than say that she had been living with relatives, who were refugees in Kenya.
In an interview on Monday she insisted that she had discussed all this with the leaders of her party — to which the immigration minister also belongs — when she was invited to run for a seat in Parliament.
Although Ms. Hirsi Ali is one of the country's most famous politicians, she had already decided not to seek a new term in 2007 and to take an appointment at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington.
On Tuesday, after being informed that her Dutch passport was being withdrawn, she announced her resignation from Parliament and said she would leave for the United States sooner than she had planned. What had earlier prompted her to decide to go to the United States, she said, was that in April, an appeals court ordered her to leave her apartment. Her neighbors had sued her, saying her presence made the apartment building unsafe.
Complicating Ms. Hirsi Ali's situation is the fact that there have been a number of recent high-profile cases in the Netherlands involving immigrants who have not met official criteria. The Supreme Court last year confirmed that an Iraqi family should be expelled for lying about personal information, and in recent weeks, the case of a teenager from Kosovo made headlines when she was forced to leave the country just before completing her high school exams.
Ms. Verdonk told Parliament she had no choice but to follow the rules. But her critics contend that the rules allow her to use discretion, if needed.
In one opinion poll on Tuesday, respondents were almost evenly divided on the issue of whether Ms. Hirsi Ali should be treated like other immigrants and be stripped of her citizenship because she had lied. But prominent writers published a letter denouncing the action as shameful.
Newspapers on Tuesday were almost unanimously against Ms. Verdonk's move, calling it variously a witch hunt, a fiasco or an embarrassment.
Dutch forced to rethink decision on Somali-born MP
Toby Sterling in Amsterdam
Thursday May 18, 2006
The Dutch immigration minister has agreed to reconsider her threat to revoke the citizenship of a Somali-born member of parliament, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, known for her opposition to fundamentalist Islam.
Rita Verdonk said the threat was based on a television programme broadcast last week in which Ms Hirsi Ali admitted lying about her name and age on her asylum application when she fled to the Netherlands in 1992 to escape an arranged marriage.
With her new name, Ms Hirsi Ali became one of the best-known figures in the country. She has lived under police protection since a film she wrote criticising the treatment of women under Islam led to the murder of its director, Theo van Gogh, by an Islamic radical.
On Monday Ms Verdonk said that under Dutch law, Ms Hirsi Ali's naturalisation was automatically void since she had lied.
The MP resigned on Tuesday, saying it would be impossible for her to function while fighting a legal battle over her immigration status.
Ms Verdonk said Ms Hirsi Ali would retain an immigrant visa, and would be eligible to reapply for citizenship. The developments caused amazement among the public and politicians, including the prime minister, Jan Peter Balkenende, who questioned the speed with which Ms Verdonk made her decisions.
Yesterday Ms Verdonk agreed to reconsider her first decision, and to reprocess Ms Hirsi Ali's naturalisation as quickly as possible if necessary.
Ms Verdonk, from the libertarian VVD Party, is in a tight race for her party's leadership in elections on May 31. She has built her reputation on taking a hard line in immigration cases, and is popular with Dutch people who say they are fed up with the perceived failure of Muslim immigrants to integrate.
Dutch minister to reconsider Hirsi Ali ruling
By Sarah Laitner in Brussels
Published: May 18 2006 03:00 | Last updated: May 18 2006 03:00
The Netherlands' immigration minister yesterday came under pressure from parliament to justify her decision to strip a high-profile critic of Islam of her Dutch citizenship.
Rita Verdonk bowed to MPs' demands to reconsider her action on Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who plans to move to the US after admitting that she lied in her Dutch asylum application.
Ms Verdonk, known as "Iron Rita" for her tough stance on immigration, said she would consider a new citizenship request by Ms Hirsi Ali, a Somali-born Dutch politician who received death threats for her criticism of Islam.
Ms Hirsi Ali quit her seat in the Dutch parliament on Tuesday and said that she would leave the Netherlands.
She has been offered a post at the American Enterprise Institute, a Washington-based neoconservative think-tank with close ties to the Bush administration.
The affair has triggered widespread debate in the Netherlands. The mood varies between support for Ms Verdonk's hardline immigration policy and criticism of her for the decision on Ms Ali, who some people see as a champion of free speech.
A poll on Tuesday showed the Dutch were divided on whether Ms Verdonk was right to strip Ms Hirsi Ali of citizenship, with 49 per cent in favour and 43 per cent against, Reuters reported.
Ms Hirsi Ali, who was raised as a Muslim, lives under police guard after receiving threats from radical Islamists, including the murderer of film director Theo van Gogh.
She gained worldwide notoriety after working with Van Gogh on the film Submission, which criticised Islam's treatment of women
Ms Hirsi Ali admitted that she had lied about her age and name when she cameto Netherlands in 1992 but said she did so to stopher family finding her after she fled an arranged marriage in Canada.
Is it possible to condemn Muslim extremism and still live among the Dutch? Maybe not.
Thursday, May 18, 2006; A22
AYAAN HIRSI ALI is a Somali-born Muslim woman who sought asylum in the Netherlands and then became one of its foremost critics of Muslim intolerance. Elected to parliament, she assailed Dutch Muslims for their repression of women and Dutch liberals for their willingness to accept it. On occasion, she also criticized the growing anti-immigrant prejudice in the Netherlands. For her pains, she has now been driven out of a country that likes to think of itself as a liberal democracy.
Ms. Hirsi Ali's story shows why the challenge of Muslim extremism is as serious in parts of Europe as it is in the Middle East. In the Netherlands now, public figures cannot criticize the oppression of women within the country's own Muslim community without risking assassination: Ms. Hirsi Ali has been in hiding since 2004, when a filmmaker she assisted in making a documentary about women and Islam was murdered. But such outspokenness also offends many native-born Dutch, either because they refuse to address the extremism in their midst or they hope to avoid a radical Muslim backlash.
That's why Ms. Hirsi Ali was evicted from her apartment by a Dutch court last month: Her neighbors brought a lawsuit against her on the grounds that her outspokenness was violating their "human rights" by exposing them to a terrorist attack. Ms. Hirsi Ali compared her adversaries to the Dutch citizens who refused to protect their Jewish neighbors from the Nazis. But that was probably unfair: After all, the Dutch under German occupation were in far more danger than those who refuse to live in the same building as Ms. Hirsi Ali.
In the end, it was not appeasement of extremism that triggered Ms. Hirsi Ali's announcement but appeasement of prejudice. The Dutch immigration minister, Rita Verdonk, hopes to become her party's candidate for prime minister; she has been appealing to anti-immigrant sentiment by posing as a tough enforcer of asylum laws. On Monday she told Ms. Hirsi Ali, a member of her own party, that her passport was being revoked because she gave false information about herself when she sought refuge in the Netherlands in 1992. Ms. Hirsi Ali publicly acknowledged the misinformation years ago; she said she gave it to prevent her family and tribe from tracking her down and forcing her into an arranged marriage.
Ms. Hirsi Ali will now come to Washington, where she has been offered a fellowship by the American Enterprise Institute and where, we hope, she will feel free to speak her mind. She leaves behind a country where a large Muslim minority lives isolated from mainstream society, in part because of social prejudice. In that isolation, extremist Islamic ideology is flourishing but goes largely unaddressed because those who seek to combat it are threatened or shunned. As long as such conditions persist in Europe, the war on terrorism cannot be won.
Letter to the Editor
The Netherlands: Open and Tolerant
Friday, May 19, 2006; Page A20
I was surprised to read the May 18 editorial that described my country as "Intolerant Netherlands." Like the United States, the Netherlands is a free, democratic society. We discuss fundamental issues in open, public debates involving all points of view.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali has availed herself of this freedom, taking courageous stances on causes in which she believes. She has sparked debates on immigration, women's rights and Islam, for which she has been both applauded and criticized. Whether one agrees or disagrees with her, Ms. Hirsi Ali has the right to pursue her causes in the Netherlands, and the Dutch government will continue to protect her.
Ms. Hirsi Ali's citizenship recently was called into question. The Dutch parliament asked the minister for immigration and integration to investigate and, if necessary, to expedite the procedures to grant Ms. Hirsi Ali citizenship. The prime minister has stated that the parliamentary request will prevail.
Ms. Hirsi Ali is not being extradited, nor is she being forced to leave the Netherlands because of her beliefs. She continues to choose her own destiny and has decided to pursue her causes in the United States.
The Netherlands remains an open and tolerant society with a culture of democratic debate and rule of law. It is the same society that provided an opportunity to a young female refugee to become a well-respected member of parliament, in just 10 years.
Embassy of the Netherlands
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