Machteld Zee Ph.D. is a Dutch scholar who investigated sharia courts in the UK for her Ph.D. thesis. This interview was published in the Algemeen Dagblad, a nationwide Dutch newspaper, on October 4, 2016.
The interview is relevant for several reasons:
- Very few non-Muslims ever have gained access to the world of sharia courts in the UK. She has.
- The University of Leiden is fairly highbrow in the Netherlands, because it is not only one of the oldest universities. but also because the heir to the Dutch throne traditionally studies at this university (for example, our former Queens Juliana and Beatrix did, just like our current head of state King Willem-Alexander). The reputation of this university gives authority to her voice.
- She has become a target of attacks by leftist apologists for radical Islam since she published her thesis. She could do with some positive publicity. Similarly, Islam-sceptics could benefit from her work.
The translated interview:
“Islamization is Planned”
The Islamization of Europe follows a strategy, according to Machteld Zee in her book Holy Identities, which was published today. ‘Once you have knowledge of it, you understand what is going on.’
‘I discovered a comprehensive system of law that contradicts our secular laws.’
Investigating sharia courts
Machteld Zee (32), a Dutch political scientist from the University of Leiden, studied sharia courts in the UK and wrote her Ph.D. thesis on it in 2015.
She was one of the few outsiders who gained access to the sessions of these Islamic courts. 95% of the cases before these courts are divorce cases. Her investigations resulted in a pamphlet, Holy Identities.
‘If you compare the Netherlands in the 1980s with today,’ says the political scientist and law school graduate Machteld Zee, ‘you will see an increased influence of Islam everywhere. Saudi Arabia and other countries flooded the world with thousands of imams, Islamic text books, mosques and tons of money.’
Machteld Zee needed barely 150 pages to describe the background of Islamic fundamentalism, which is gaining ground in Western countries. Her book Holy Identities: On the Road to a Sharia State is an analysis of the problems of the multicultural society.
You say that conservative Muslims want to convince their fellow Muslims to embrace sharia, the religious law of Islam. These fundamentalists are being helped by ‘useful non-believers’, non-Islamic intellectuals, politicians and opinion leaders who don’t want to offend Muslims.
‘Yes, leading multiculturalists actually believe that Muslims should be shielded from criticism because it would inflict psychological damage on them. Although many Muslims consider this an idiotic point of view, others use it to call those who criticize Islam ‘Islamophobes’ and ‘racists’.
You described yourself as left-leaning liberal when you started your investigation on sharia courts in the UK. Now you warn against a lack of knowledge of and a lack of resistance against the advancing radical Islam.
‘I discovered a comprehensive system of law — far more systematic then I had expected — that contradicts our secular laws. Many Muslim women are locked into a religious marriage because their community thinks a divorce according secular law is insufficient. In these communities — Muslim communities — sharia law trumps secular law when it comes to marriage. Women have to ask a sharia judge or an imam to dissolve their marriage, for example when the husband physically abuses her. Even Dutch Muslim women travel to the UK to appear before sharia courts. It is a parallel society. I object to it because these practices go against women’s rights.’
You have analyzed the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood. It is a political and religious movement that aims for world domination, and is supported by lots of money from fundamentalist circles. The sharia courts are part of this project, you wrote.
‘That is why it is so important that we know what is going on. Authors that I studied for my investigation were generally benevolent towards sharia courts. It turned out, however, that none of them ever attended a session of such a court. They don’t know what is going on in these courts. Now they ask me to tell all about it. Women are advised by these courts to accept polygamy and to not file criminal complaints in case of domestic violence. Physically abusive fathers are given custody of their children. I have the impression that the tide of the public debate is turning now that these facts are becoming public. I hardly hear anyone pleading in favour of sharia courts anymore.’
In your book you call out the politically correct elites, who tries to cover up abuse within Islam and tries to downplay the threat of Islamic fundamentalism.
‘In the first place, I think I am reporting facts. Where I notice that influential Western intellectuals tend to discourage critics of Islam and help fundamentalists to isolate and ‘Islamize’ Muslim communities, that is a matter of fact. My book is a compact discourse that aims to bring its readers up to date on fundamentalist Islam.’
How do you see the future?
‘We will have to act more defensively and resist Islamization. We should not yield to demands that images of scantily dressed women in public have to be covered up, for example. Just say no. Citizens should not leave everything to the government. They can defend our beliefs and values themselves, too. Why does a college in The Hague decides to abandon the Christmas tree pre-emptively? Why is alcohol banned in places where Muslims show up? There is no need for that. We are doing it to ourselves.’
Do you fear criticism? Undoubtedly, you will be labeled as a right-winger.
‘I don’t experience that when I speak in public. Even a ‘leftist’ audience responds positively to my story. Right-wing? Come on, equal rights for women and resistance against representatives of a religion who make threats of violence — let’s call that common sense.’