Iraqi woman only allowed to rent Amsterdam flat if she promises to cook in the "western way"
Maysaa Munaf, a 31-year-old Iraqi woman who came to Amsterdam a few weeks ago to work at a consultancy, was shocked when she received an email from company Executive Home Rentals telling her that she can only view a property if she plans to cook in the "western way", RTL Nieuws reports.
Munaf posted the mail to Facebook and Twitter. It read: "Both properties are not suitable for tenants who like to cook for hours with lots of herbs (only 'western way' of cooking). If you cook 'the western way' we can offer you a viewing of this property tomorrow."
"I found it racist. I didn't really know what I was reading. What is western cooking? Should I only make Brussels sprouts?" Munaf said to the broadcaster. She responded to the email. "I described my feelings. And I received a mail back in which the employee said it was absolutely not meant to be racist, but she only wanted to inform me", she said. "Even though it was not meant to be racist, it felt like it. I noticed that it affected me. I don't want the house anymore."
Michel Rooting of EHR Amsterdam doesn't know which employee wrote the email, but acknowledges that it was badly worded. "If the mail actually came from us, I admit that the text was unfortunately written. Because what is western cooking? But this is absolutely not meant as racist, our company is absolutely not like that. Very unfortunate", he said to the broadcaster. "With every home we look for suitable tenants. Sometimes there are situations, for example in older homes, where the smell of the kitchen easily reaches the neighbor. In order to prevent problems and neighbor quarrels, we try in advance to inform the tenants as best as possible in advance. The mail is meant to be information and absolutely not racist. It is very unfortunate that the woman experienced it as such."