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Viewing cable 05THEHAGUE3128, MISSION OUTREACH DURING RAMADAN

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
05THEHAGUE3128 2005-11-21 08:08 2011-01-20 21:09 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy The Hague
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 THE HAGUE 003128

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR ECA, EUR/PPD, EUR/UBI, IIP/G/EUR
POSTS FOR PAO

SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPAO PREL OEXC SCUL SOCI NL
SUBJECT: MISSION OUTREACH DURING RAMADAN

REF: A) THE HAGUE 2870; B) THE HAGUE 3084

1. (U) Summary: Embassy staff participated in 19 outreach
events during Ramadan this year, including hosting mission's
first-ever Iftar dinner, attending small Iftar gatherings
hosted by Muslim families in Amsterdam, participating in the
country's first nationwide Ramadan festival, and hosting an
international visitor from the Council on Islamic Education
who conducted a series of workshops on religion and
democracy. Mission participation went beyond public
diplomacy staff and included political section, Foreign
Commercial Service, economic section, the delegation to the
Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons,
Consulate General in Amsterdam, and front office staff. In
addition, political officer assigned to cover Muslim issues
held 13 separate meetings with Muslim representatives during
the month-long festival. End Summary.

BREAKING BREAD
--------------

2. (U) Mission staff attended large banquets and small
family dinners. The Charge's Iftar dinner for 45 key
contacts included many Muslim ambassadors and local Muslim
leaders. Highlights were broadcast on a local Muslim
television station. Mission staff attended five other Iftar
dinners hosted by Muslim families, and participated in the
country's first national Ramadan Festival - itself organized
by Ahmed Larouz, a 2005 IVLP participant. Emboffs shared
IIP' Muslim Life in America booklet at family Iftar dinners.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT
----------------

3. (U) American speakers added their perspectives to the
Dutch discussion on integration and religion. Dr. Kamran
Ali, an American Fulbright scholar at the University of
Leiden's International Institute for the Study of Islam in
the Modern World (ISIM), lectured at the university about
multiculturalism. Visiting American speaker Shabbir Mansuri
of the California-based Council on Islamic Education
addressed Dutch-Moroccan students and young leaders in four
workshops on Religion and Citizenship in a Democracy. The
Charge hosted a dinner for Dr. Jessica Stern, Professor of
Public Policy at Harvard and author of Terrorism in the
Name of God, who discussed radicalization in the
Netherlands with dinner guests including national and local
government officials, and academics.

WHAT WE HEARD
-------------

4. (SBU) Emboffs heard repeatedly that ethnic tensions in
The Netherlands are much worse now than they have ever been.
A Moroccan-born Dutch national who works for the City of
Amsterdam, in attendance at an Iftar dinner, told emboff
that he was considering moving to Spain. His rationale was
that, even though the situation in Spain was not better for
Moroccans, at least there he would truly be a foreigner.
Even though we tell people in Holland that we are Moroccan,
we really are Dutch. We never say it though. They [native
Dutch] would look at us weird if we did, said the official.

5. (SBU) Views of the US vary based on personal experience
and views of larger political events. On the personal level,
though some parents may have a favorable view of the US
stemming from fond memories of US assistance during their
youth in Morocco, Moroccan youth in the Netherlands lack
similar positive experiences of the U.S., and according to
one observer, many parents don't share their experiences
with their children. On the other hand, one middle-aged
Dutch Moroccan man said, What happened with relations
between the U.S. and the Arab world? Things used to be so
good. Why are U.S. policies against us now?

COMMENT
-------

6. (U) The broad array of events provided an excellent
opportunity to listen and to bring our message of tolerance
to various Muslim audiences. Our embassy-hosted events also
brought Dutch government officials and Muslim leaders
together, something both sides have complained does not
happen enough. The publication on Muslim Life in America
was well-received, and an eye-opener for people who knew
nothing of that aspect of the American experience.
Commenting on the Embassy's Iftar, Mohammed Sini, Director
of the Islam and Citizenship Foundation said Every
gathering presents an opportunity to solve problems between
Muslims, Christians, Jews and others. They all have to find
a way to keep talking to each other. Embassy will continue
to foster that discussion.
BLAKEMAN