"A Dutch Muslim politician has called for a ban on dogs in The Hague, the third-largest city in the Netherlands.
Islamic legal tradition holds that dogs are "unclean" animals, and some say the call to ban them in Holland and elsewhere represents an attempted encroachment of Islamic Sharia law in Europe.
This latest canine controversy -- which the Dutch public has greeted with a mix of amusement and outrage -- follows dozens of other Muslim-vs-dog-related incidents in Europe. Critics say it reflects the growing assertiveness of Muslims in Europe as they attempt to impose Islamic legal and religious norms on European society.
The Dutch dustup erupted after Hasan Küçük, a Turkish-Dutch representative on The Hague city council for the Islam Democrats, vehemently opposed a proposal by the Party for the Animals (Partij voor de Dieren) to make the city more dog friendly.
According to a January 28 report in the Amsterdam-based newspaper De Telegraaf, Küçük counter-argued that keeping dogs as pets is tantamount to animal abuse and he then called for the possession of dogs in The Hague to be criminalized.
According to its website, the Islam Democrats [ID] party is "founded on the Islamic principles of justice, equality and solidarity. ID is a bottom-up response to the large gap between the Muslim and immigrant communities and local politics…ID focuses on the political awareness within the Muslim and immigrant communities. Awareness about the need to organize, but also the need for mutual support."
Paul ter Linden, who represents the Dutch Freedom Party (PVV) on The Hague city council, responded to Küçük by saying: "In this country pet ownership is legal. Whoever disagrees with this should move to another country."
Dutch political commentators believe Küçük's declarations are a provocation designed to stir up the Muslim population in The Hague. Muslims -- who now make up more than 12% of the city's population of 500,000 -- view dogs as ritually unclean animals and Küçük's call for a ban on them is a sure vote-getter, they say.
The incident in Holland follows dog-related controversies in other European countries.
In Spain, two Islamic groups based in Lérida -- a city in the northeastern region of Catalonia where 29,000 Muslims now make up around 20% of the city's total population -- asked local officials to regulate the presence of dogs in public spaces so they do not "offend Muslims."
Across Europe, by Muslim youth. The killing of dogs is considered their duty for Islam *Warning Graphic....