Thursday, February 28, 2008


Minister: Muslims Should Not Take Koran Literally

THE HAGUE, 29/02/08 - Education, Culture and Emancipation Minister Ronald Plasterk hopes that Muslims will follow the same development in their faith as many Dutch Christians. This would lead to an open world-view, whereby not everything in the Koran has to be taken literally.

The Labour (PvdA) minister himself comes from a Catholic family, but like so many others in the Netherlands he gave up his faith years ago. "In my circle, people did still go to church, but if I then asked: do you believe that the earth was made in seven days and that Jesus walked on water, they said 'no'," according to Plasterk, who found that hypocritical. Therefore, "at the time, I preferred people who were orthodox," he said yesterday in Nederlands Dagblad.

But the newspaper added Plasterk has since changed his mind. The turning point was the 11 September attacks in the US. Orthodoxy to him is "a closed world-view in which everything is fixed." An open world-view deserves to be preferred, according to the minister.

"If you have to take everything literally, you go mad in our times. I therefore wish Muslims the same as what happened with Protestants and Catholics. They say: Yes, it does say this and that in Genesis and Exodus, but that does not mean that we also believe that."

Plasterk was speaking in The Hague's 'Paard van Troje' cafe, where three Labour (PvdA) cabinet members were kicking off the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue 2008. European Affairs State Secretary Frans Timmermans was also there, along with Integration Minister Ella Vogelaar.

Timmermans was asked what he understood by paradise. He answered: "Paradise does not exist on earth. The trouble is however that there are idiots that want to build a paradise on earth. And that leads to the closed world-views and fundamentalism in both Islam and the West."

Pertinent Links:

1) Minister: Muslims Should Not Take Koran Literally

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