Ineke van der Valk: New Publication Dutch Islamophobia

By Milena Rampoldi, ProMosaik e.V.
In this post we will introduce you to the new publications by Ineke van der Valk about Islamophobia and Discrimination in the Netherlands. Her most recent book entitled “Dutch Islamophobia” is the continuation of her first publication about Islamophobia ProMosaik e.V. had already presented and translated into German and Italian. ProMosaik e.V. convinced of the importance of the exchange among Islamophobia researchers to struggle against prejudice and discrimination of Muslims in whole Europe. Therefore, we have interviewed the author about this book as well. For the interview with the author about Monitor Moslim Discriminatie, see 


Ineke van der Valk is a researcher who specializes in racism, extremism, ethnic relations and diversity in multicultural societies. She holds degrees in Educational Studies and Ethnic Studies and a Ph-D in Discourse Studies from the University of Amsterdam. She obtained her doctorate focusing on the interplay between social sciences and discourse analysis with a comparative study of the perception of ethnic issues in the political discourse of the Netherlands and France, paying special attention to the extreme right. The title of the thesis was: Difference, Deviance, Threat. Before she worked as a senior researcher in the Research Department of the Anne Frank House, Monitor Racism & Extremism project where she studied processes of (de)radicalisation of right-wing extremists, Islamic extremism and Islamophobia. She also worked at the University of Amsterdam, where she participated in a joint research project with the University of Vienna on racism in European countries. She was a community worker and human rights activist in the 70-ies and 80-ies. She has published on issues relating to racism, right wing and jihadi extremism, political radicalisation, representation of ethnic issues in politics and the media, citizenship and integration, the post-war history of immigrants in the Netherlands, human rights in Morocco and intercultural education.

Ineke van der Valk 
Dutch Islamophobia
ReiheIslam in der Lebenswelt Europa, LIT Verlag
Bd. 9, 192 S., 29.90 EUR, 29.90 CHF, br., ISBN 978-3-643-90662-5
Dutch Islamophobia: This book discusses the phenomenon of Islamophobia in a number of ways in which it is expressed in the Netherlands. After a theoretical  introduction, an assessment  is given of  how Islam/Muslims are viewed in the Netherlands. This is done historically on the basis of a comprehensive study of their representation in history. Subsequently a number of surveys of contemporary attitudes towards Islam/Muslims are critically discussed. A separate chapter reports findings of  studies about  attitudes and discriminatory practices of youngsters and secondary school pupils, as well as findings about the representation of Muslims in textbooks and stereotypes that teachers come across in educational practices. The changing image of the Netherlands from a country of tolerance to a country of intolerance that has evolved in the last decade, is mainly due to the politics of Geert Wilders and his PVV. Expressions of Islamophobia and discrimination in the political and public arena by the PVV are also covered as are the changing attitudes and policies of the Dutch government that show a growing awareness of the danger of islamophobia. Data on discrimination in general and of Muslims in particular from different institutions and specialised agencies, from press articles and court cases are also covered. They show that it is a difficult task to present an accurate report on the ‘state of the art’ knowledge on these issues in the Netherlands. It is striking to see the gap between the discrimination experienced, as it is reported in surveys on the one hand and on the other hand, the numbers of complaints and reports to the police and antidiscrimination agencies as well as the incidents reported in the media. Finally an overview is provided of acts of violence against the presence of Islamic places of worship that have been perpetrated in the last decade. For the first time administrators of  mosques are asked to report their experiences and give their opinions on this issue. This study is based on a survey of them, on in-depth interviews with some of them, on informal discussions with representatives of organizations as well as on desk research. It gives an informative insight into the situation related to violent incidents against mosques, its prevalence, character and effects. The report concludes with a reflection  and recommendations.
 Publication Report Monitor Muslim Discrimination
By Dr. Ineke van der Valk
6 March 2015
The present  Dutch report Monitor Moslim Discriminatie is my second publication on islamophobia in the Netherlands. It discusses the Dutch situation from where the first report ended, in particular the time period after 2011. The underlying research project builds on this earlier research. It is part of a longitudinal Monitor project that collects data, analyses this phenomenon and highlights contexts and backgrounds.
The objectives of this project are:
1.       to increase  insight into islamophobia as a form of racism, its causes, incidence, impact and consequences;
2.      to  obtain public and official recognition of islamophobia as a separate form of discrimination comparable to anti-Semitism, in order to better monitor it in the future;
3.      to contribute to the development of  counter policies and practices to be used by municipalities, national governments, civil society organizations and the public at large.
These objectives are achieved  through data gathering, secondary analysis of research data of academic and specialized institutes, empirical in-depth research on specific issues (desk research, interviews, surveys), dissemination of research outcomes via lectures, academic conferences, (press)interview and advocacy activities and through contributing to capacity-building by empowering ethnic minority civil society organizations with knowledge, insight and policy recommendations. The idea behind it is in short that hate speech and acts must not take place without reply based on facts and voice.
Although it has sometimes  been claimed that the Netherlands is ‘the front line in the clash of civilizations’, islamophobia is not only a Dutch but equally a European and international problem. Everywhere in the western world extremist actors abuse  existing economic and social crises to set Muslims apart and make them scapegoats.  This research project is therefore equally relevant for international audiences of scholars, politicians, policy makers and ethnic minority communities, in particular for its for its assistance in shaping policies. 
Download Report
At this point in time the report is only available in Dutch, but which includes an English summary. See this link for downloading the report.
Milena Rampoldi (MR): Why did you decide to write a second book about islamophobia in the Netherlands?
Ineke van der Valk (IvdV): My monitor islamophobia project runs until 2018. It is important to monitor developments and thus also to report about them. It is a new field of study and there is a lot to do, I therefor make regular reports, as books or as web publications in pdf.
MR: What did change in the period between the first and the second book? 
IvdV: Very important is the fact that political parties do not cooperate any more with the PVV. Also islamophobia is now on the agenda of politics and media, much more than before as a result of my previous work and efforts of Muslim organizations. At the same time it is increasing as a reaction to islamist terrorist attacks and events like what happened in Koln on new years’ eve. People tend to generalize too easily.
MR: Which are the main objectives of the book?
IvdV: Contribute to knowledge and insight into a modern form of discrimination.
MR: What can we do to change islamophobic minds in the Netherlands?
IvdV: Develop counter speech to counter racist propaganda and hate speech, online and off line. Contribute to awareness raising in education, politics, the media and other important sectors of society. Organize dialogue and encounter between people of different religion and non-religious people too.
For more information on what to do see the recommendations at the end of the book, or alternatively in Dutch at the end of the last report can be download on this web site or on the website of  IMES, University of Amsterdam
MR: How important is the translation of books about islamophobia to network people in whole Europe and to promote understanding about islamophobia?
IvdV: Very important, it will be possible to make comparisons between different countries and to contribute also to awareness raising in countries were the issue is  present but underreported.
MR: Which proposals would you make to social workers and Muslim and Non-Muslim activists struggling against islamophobia for an open and tolerant society in Holland and abroad?
IvdV: Cooperate, get to know each other and strife together for a better world, regardless of differences of religion, color,  ethnic background, gender and sexual orientation.