Rotterdam party accused of Racism

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Livable Rotterdam (Leefbaar Rotterdam) is being accused of racism by local Muslim movement Nida.  Nida claims that the party makes "racist" remarks and must therefore be excluded from consideration as possible coalition partner. "They put people aside as second-class citizens" council-member candidate Samila Afkir said. Nida leader Nourdin El Ouali has in the last few weeks criticized the "cowardly" PvdA, which the Islamic voter believes treat their voters as voting "cattle". On Sunday, during a meeting for discussion in community center Pier 80 in Delftshaven, Leefbaar Rotterdam was the one to swallow criticism as well.

"Joost Eerdmans has recently made it clear in NRC that he is a racist" Samila Afkir said, who is number three on the candidate list for Muslim movement Nida. In an opinion piece in that newspaper, the front-runner in parliament for Rotterdam's largest opposition party said recently that "Islam is an important factor in the failing of Ibn Ghaldoun." The Islamic school community was the stage for the biggest exam fraud case in Dutch history last year. "If it is about the denial of the Holocaust, spitting on the Dutch language, or the influence of Imams: in almost everything, the school has behaved like a gang that stands above the law," Eerdmans and his right hand man, campaign leader Ronald Buijt, wrote. El Ouali, ex-council member of GroenLinks, tried to extinguish the internal fire yesterday with the observation that "Leefbaar is perceptible discriminatory." He pointed to the proposal to forbid the wearing of head scarves in education. "And with their quota on labour migrants they obviously shut out certain populations." Eerdmans refused to comment on Afkir's association yesterday. Tomorrow evening, he will enter into debate once again with his biggest political opponent, PvdA front-runner Hamit Karakus. El Ouali will take aim at Leefbaar Rotterdam more often, he implied yesterday. "With this party, we shut out every form of cooperation, and PvdA should do that as well. In just about everything, we are polar opposites of Leefbaar."