Monday 8 October 2012

Dutch-Muslim girl says faces daily assault over faith

Comment: I think these 'local boys' boys are quite possibly also Muslim and are attacking her because she is too and because she dares to pursue an education and not dress the 'way she should'....
AMSTERDAM: She can’t tell her parents. They would keep her at home and force her to marry. She has gone to the police, but they have refused to intervene. For Fatima, a Moroccan-Dutch 19-year-old university student, life has become terrible.
“I can’t walk to university any more and don’t have money to pay for a taxi. I have to brave it and suffer every day to get to class,” she told at a cafe on the outskirts of Amsterdam. For her, life is a struggle.
“I can’t talk to my parents about it because they threatened me already to send me to Morocco for school and to find a husband. This is my home,” she said.
Her ordeal began last Spring, when she would walk the same route to the University of Amsterdam where she was taking her first round of coursework. She liked to dress up for school and had been wearing what other Dutch girls her age often do in the warmer months: a skirt and tanktop.
“I wanted to be noticed at school, and I was, but also on the streets,” she said.
She said that a group of local boys began harassing her on a daily basis, commenting on her body and propositioning her. “I didn’t give them notice and they didn’t ever touch me.”
It all changed one morning when her mother called and they overheard her speaking Arabic. Fatima said that is when they began to get even closer.
“It was a few days later when they jumped on me and started swearing at me and calling me horrible names like ‘Moroccan slut’, ‘prostitute’ and others,” she revealed. “The first time it happened, they grabbed my chest and behind, but nothing more. I thought it was a one-off thing and I yelled at them when they ran away.”
She didn’t call the police or report the incident, hoping, she said, it would not happen again.
But the following day, the boys attacked again. She said they tore at her clothes and “they inserted fingers … it was the worst experience of my life. I thought they would rape me.”
When she went to the police, in tatters, she said the officers on duty laughed when she tried to report the incident.
“They told me to wear better clothes and to hide being Arab. And they didn’t move to do anything. I was so shocked and hurt. I didn’t know what to do,” she said.
For the next few weeks, calm returned to her routine and the boys were not present, but then they returned and the assaults began again. After two more sexual assaults on her, she has since taken different routes.
“But they somehow find me. I have been attacked at least 10 times and each time they call me names about being an Arab and Muslim. The police say they would like to help, but they need some evidence. They think I am lying,” she said.
For her, being an Arab, a woman, and a Muslim in the lower class areas of Amsterdam has been a struggle. Fatima hopes that she can start finding a ride to university to end her turmoil.
“I can’t say anything to my parents because they would keep me at home and force me to marry someone in Morocco. I am Dutch and I will fight this no matter what,” she said, adding that she plans to go to the central police station to file a report against the boys for attacking her and the police officers who sat idly by.
The Netherlands has seen a rise in anti-Islam sentiments in recent years and Fatima is only one of numerous hate crimes erupting across the once tolerant society.

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