Muslim climate activist wins seat in Dutch parliament

Muslim climate activist wins seat in Dutch parliament
2 min read
21 March, 2021
Moroccan-Dutch politician Kauthar Bouchallikht faced an 'Islamophobic and racist' campaign against her election bid, supporters say.
Bouchallikht was faced with allegations of links to the Muslim Brotherhood [Twitter]
A Muslim climate activist will enter the Dutch parliament this year, it was announced on Saturday, despite facing what supporters called an Islamophobic and racist campaign.

"Wow. We did it. Despite everything, thanks to everything," Kauthar Bouchallikht wrote on Twitter.

The 26-year-old politician added she will work for "equality and justice. Hope over hate. Together".

The official results of the Netherlands' parliamentary elections have not yet been finalised but local media reports have confirmed early results indicating Bouchallikht's victory at the polls.

Bouchallikht, who is of Moroccan heritage, will represent the GroenLinks (Green Left) party in parliament.

Her election comes despite losses for her party as a whole and a right-wing campaign against the climate activist that gained international attention.

Bouchallikht faced allegations of links to the controversial Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist organisation whose views she disavowed.

She was also accused of anti-Semitism in Dutch media over her pro-Palestine activism. Bouchallikht rejected the claims, saying she condemns anti-Semitism.

A report by the Utrecht Data School and the De Groene Amsterdammer magazine found that more than 30 percent of tweets directed at Bouchallikht were hate messages or threats.

A December open letter signed by dozens of British politicians, civil society organisers and academics slammed the "racist" and "Islamophobic" treatment of Bouchallikht.

"Claims of extremism levied against her originated from far-right online platforms which have since been uncritically repeated by politicians and mainstream media," the letter read.

"This is no irregular occurrence, but an all too familiar pattern that people of colour and Muslims are subjected to on an ongoing basis by resurgent and emboldened bigotry, xenophobia and racism across the world."

In a 2020 interview with Dutch GLAMOUR, Bouchallikht explained that many in the Netherlands "tend to associate my religion with terrorism and negativity" and are often surprised to see a Muslim involved in climate activism.

"I believe that the Earth is given to us by God and that we should take good care of it," she said.

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