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Minister has LGBT hostile teaching method investigated

Minister Arie Slob (Primary and Secondary Education) is having the Education Inspectorate investigate the LGBT-hostile teaching method used by several Islamic elementary school. The COC and various Members of Parliament had urged this called for this. COC Nedeland is positive about Slob's decision.

COC president Astrid Oosenbrug called on the Education Inspectorate in the September 11 program Nieuwsuur to take action against the teaching method 'Help! I'm growing up' of the Islamic School Boards Organization (ISBO). Several members of Parliament also made that call. Minister Slob announced on Sept. 12 that he is instructing the inspectorate to investigate whether schools are going over the top with this method.

In the teaching method, young students are led to believe that the punishment for homosexuals would be blindness, a shower of stones and death, and that Allah abhors homosexuality. Transgender persons are also to suffer. Among other things, the booklets state that Islam would not allow trans persons to transition. It further states that Allah would curse "women who try to look like men.

COC president Astrid Oosenbrug spoke in Newsweek of an "abhorrent teaching method that scares the hell out of young Muslim LGBT people. She finds it unacceptable that schools use such LGBT-hostile teaching methods - whether invoking Islam, Christianity or other beliefs. In the broadcast, Oosenbrug demanded that the Education Inspectorate take action against the schools in question and ensure that the method is no longer used.

"You, as a Muslim transgender girl or gay boy, will just be in a school that uses this method, and basically be told that you are not allowed to be there. That is horrible, unacceptable and against the law. Students have a right to a school where they feel safe and accepted, and that can't happen with a teaching method like this."

Oosenbrug pointed out that schools are required by law to ensure a safe school climate for all students and to teach students respect for LGBT people. The obligation for all primary and secondary schools to teach respect for LGBT people came about thanks to COC's Pink Ballot Agreement of 2012.

Also, Döne Fil - herself a lesbian, Muslim and longtime member of COC's Respect2Love for bicultural LGBT people - also spoke on Nieuwsuur. She thinks schools should stop using the teaching method immediately. According to her, the lessons are very harmful to young Muslims who are LGBT. Also, according to Fil, the method rests on a wrong interpretation of Islam, which, according to her, does provide space for LHBTIs. In the Nieuwsuur broadcast and in NRC Handelsblad, others from the Dutch Muslim community also expressed their disapproval of the teaching method.

VVD and PvdA announced in response to the News Hour item that they want to "modernize" Article 23 of the Constitution. That article is about the freedom to establish schools based on religion. VVD spokesman Dennis Wiersma announced that he thinks the freedom of education should be made subordinate to the principle of equality, which states that everyone in the Netherlands should be treated equally in equal cases.

[Source: COC NL, Nieuwsuur - Photo Minister Slob: Rijksoverheid.nl/Valerie Kuypers - Illustration curriculum: ISBO]

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