Dutch coalition for peace started in Cairo

Sent On: 
Thu, 2014-08-28
Newsletter Number: 



AWR, Cairo, August 28, 2014


The extreme violence of the Islamic State (in Iraq and Syria), IS(IS), and the war between Israel and Gaza has resulted in emotional demonstrations and harsh responses in different countries in the West, including the Netherlands.


A number of opponents of the Israeli attacks on Gaza carried on August 10 the banner of IS(IS), some shouting in Arabic for “death to Jews,” showing clear sympathies for IS(IS). Right-wing Dutch organizations responded but not only demonstrated against IS(IS) but also against Islam. This has resulted in emotional debates in the Netherlands and the mayor of The Hague forbidding demonstrations in densely populated areas. For more background read here.


On August 20 the Cairo Coalition (in Dutch: Cairo Overleg), with representatives of Dutch churches, Muslim and Jewish religious organizations, issued a statement opposing the sentiments that drive adherents of different religions apart instead of seeking answers to the radicalism one finds, unfortunately, among people of all religions.


The full text of the statement of Dutch Muslims, Christians and Jews can be found here.

Arab-West Report strongly sympathizes with this statement of the Cairo Coalition.


The Cairo Coalition is Dutch but has its roots in Cairo. In 2008 representatives of Dutch Muslim organizations and Dutch churches visited Egypt in opposition to the film Fitna of Wilders. This visit was organized by our NGO, the Center for Arab-West Understanding (CAWU).


This visit resulted in the formation of the Cairo Coalition (in Dutch: Cairo Overleg), with only representatives of religious organizations.



This coalition organizes activities in the Netherlands but also met with the Egyptian Multiparty delegation we brought to The Netherlands in 2012. On March 23, 2014, they organized an ecumenical meeting in a church against recent racist statements of Dutch politician Geert Wilders.


Yesterday, August 27, the Cairo Coalition brought over 100 representatives of Dutch Muslim organizations, Jewish synagogues and Christian churches together to talk about how to respond to radicalism in their own circles. Arab-West Report attended this meeting.


The initiative in 2008 started small. It is great to see how this developed. I see many similarities between the Dutch Cairo Coalition and the Egyptian Bayt Al-‘A’ila. Interestingly both have their roots in Egypt. Yes, there are major problems in Egypt but it is also good to see that so much good springs from Egypt.



Cornelis Hulsman,

Editor-in-chief Arab-West Report