Blog and opinion
Mr Faber is needed more than ever
Mr Faber thinks that Muslim men should speak up more often against sexual domination. The lecturer in Behavioural and Movement Sciences sees the head scarf and the burka as signs of this oppression – the clothing covers up the beauty of Muslim women so that they do not tempt men. This is exactly what promotes sexualization.
The think tank Gender Think & Do Tank made grateful use of the column and is demanding that the Executive Board of THUAS distances itself from Faber’s words by means of a petition and a media offensive. It alleges that the column does not contribute towards a safe culture at THUAS. It also finds the idea unacceptable that being taught by lecturers who cover their heads is a manifestation of subjugation. Mr Faber has now stopped writing.
The response from the think tank reminded me of the 1967 “Donkey Trial”. This court case was inspired by the writings of the celebrated Dutch author Gerard Reve who stated in one of his books that he loved God so much that he would take the man from behind three times if he appeared before him incarnated in a one-year-old mouse-grey donkey. The Christian MP Cor van Dis ordered the government to take special measures against Mr Reve’s “immoral” utterances. Mr Reve took up the gauntlet himself and went to court with his case, where he conducted his own defence. After lengthy legal proceedings, Reve was acquitted. Fortunately for us, Mr Reve continued to write.
It’s a sign of hope that the Executive Board of THUAS is also firmly behind the freedom of speech of one of its writers. After all, the diversity that is valued so highly by THUAS requires that people also have the space to express themselves critically about it. The environment, the European Union, globalisation, nationalism and the rocketing growth of the world’s population over the coming decades are all themes that should be subjected to unadulterated exchanges of opinion within the walls of academic institutions. Academic institutions are places where truths that are held as inviolable can be tested, in the same way as in parliament. Dialectics as progress.
That is why Gender Think & Do Tank should not tackle Mr Faber with prohibitions, but it should rather use words. However, the think tank clearly has little faith in its own words. Following a response on Facebook, it started a petition for the Executive Board to distance itself from its columnist. The fact that the petition was started by a think tank leads one to think that this little club does not shy away from intimidation itself.
This should cause many more intellectual sparks to fly at THUAS. A keen debate in which everyone is free to disagree with each other produces resilient minds and increases the knowledge and skills of students and lecturers. Mr Faber has provided the impetus for this. It can only be hoped that he writes his next column very soon, despite his decision to put down his pen.
Our guest blogger Inge Weel is a lecturer in Public Communication on the Communication degree programme. She teaches subjects such as Political Campaigns, Government Communication and Public Affairs and previously worked as a communications advisor for ministries, municipalities and large companies. Ms Weel studied Dutch, Political Science and Communication.