Christian party wants harsher punishment for religious, racist violence

Ruling party ChristenUnie wants violence with a religious or racist motive to be punished more harshly, as is already the case for violence against public officials. "If you fulfill a public function in the public domain and are attacked, we believe you need extra protection. That must also apply here", said Gert-Jan Segers, leader of the Christian party, NOS reports.

This call for harsher punishment was triggered by vandalism at a kosher restaurant in Amsterdam in December last year. A man carrying a Palestinian flag broke the windows of restaurant Ha Carmel. He was arrested and is being charged with vandalism and attempted theft of the Israeli flag from the restaurant. The court in Amsterdam wants the man to undergo psychiatric examination. He was released from custody and awaits his trial in freedom.

According to Segers, the man is getting away with a far too light punishment, because there is no possibility for the court to punish racist violence more severely. "If a Jewish restaurant is attacked because the owner is Jewish, it is a threat to the entire Jewish community. If an ex-Muslim, who became a Christian or atheist, is attacked because he is a heretic, then that is a threat to anyone who makes such a choice", Segers said, according to the broadcaster.

Whether this ChristenUnie proposal will get support from a majority in the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, is still unclear.