Home affairs minister Ronald Plasterk told a television programme on Sunday he has no problem with housing corporations renovating homes and taking the wishes of Muslim tenants into account.
Plasterk was responding to a report in Parool newspaper on Saturday which said 188 apartments in western Amsterdam had been adapted to meet the wishes of Muslims, with a special cupboard for storing shoes and an extra tap for “ritual cleansing”.
“They’ve taken some of the wishes of residents into account. There is nothing wrong with that,” Plasterk told the show. “But you should not build homes which non-Muslims would not want to live in.”
The paper described the flats as “halal homes” and placed great emphasis on the fact dividing doors could be used to close off the large kitchen and that a hall meant women could avoid meeting male visitors.
The housing corporation, Eigen Hard, said the complex is completely mixed. The properties had been renovated to make sure they could be rented out and some are also lived in by students and people with a handicap, the corporation said.
Needless to say, the Parool report was seized on by Geert Wilders and his party.
The PVV announced that it would be raising questions in parliament over the issue and issued a statement complaining that the elderly sometimes have to wait for years for a simple adaptation of their toilet or shower, “but when it comes to the requirements of Islam one bows down immediately”.
The PVV condemned the subsidising of “medieval gender apartheid”, which it described as “retarded”, and said that the minister should say clearly that “there is no place for halal homes in the Netherlands”. Anyone who required such housing should leave for Mecca.
Wilders himself tweeted that the provision of homes geared to the cultural needs of Muslims was “total idiocy”.