Germany's Minister Of Family Affairs: Classic Fairy Tales Are Sexist


BERLIN - Lotte, the daughter of German Family Minister Kristina Schröder, is not yet two years old, but her mother is already busy helping her grow up to be a modern woman. Toward that end, Schröder says she is very selective when choosing her classic children's books, including the legendary Grimm’s fairy tale collection that include Cinderella, Snow White and Rapunzel.

Though she didn't single out any particular tale in the 19th-century German series, Schröder told Die Zeit that Grimm’s stories are often “sexist” and contain "very few positive female role models."

Rapunzel in Dresden (photo: Kay Komer)

In general, she told Die Zeit, she didn’t see why in stories and explanations given to children God was almost always portrayed as a male figure. She also believes that telling children Biblical stories should be paired with stories based on evolutionary history.

According to Süddeutsche Zeitung, Schröder also has a problem with her copies of the Pippi Longstocking books by Swedish writer Astrid Lindgren, which uses the nickname “Negro King," for Pippi’s dad. Though the publishers have long since changed the name to South Seas King, the Schröder household seems to have older editions of the series. So when the expression comes up in the text, Schröder replaces it with something else “to protect my child from picking up expressions like that.”

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Dutch Cities Have Been Secretly Probing Mosques Since 2013

Revelations of a nationally funded clandestine operation within 10 municipalities in the Netherlands to keep tabs on mosques and Muslim organizations after a rise in radicalization eight years ago.

The Nasser mosque in Veenendaal, one of the mosques reportedly surveilled

Meike Eijsberg

At least ten Dutch towns and cities have secretly used a private agency to probe mosques and other local religious organizations, Amsterdam-based daily het NRC reports in an exclusive investigation.

The clandestine operation — funded by NCTV, the National Security Services, the Netherlands' leading counter-terrorism agency — was prompted by the social unrest and uncertainty following multiple terror attacks in 2013, and a rise in Islamic radicalization.

The NCTV, which advises and financially supports municipalities in countering radicalization, put the municipalities in touch with Nuance by Training and Advice (Nuance door Trainingen en Advies, NTA), a private research agency based in Deventer, Netherlands. Among the institutions targeted by the investigations, which came at a cost of circa 500,000 euros, were the Al Mouahidin mosque in the central Dutch town of Ede, and the Nasser mosque east of the city of Utrecht, according to NRC.

Photo of people standing on prayer mats inside a Dutch mosque

Praying inside a Dutch mosque.


Broken trust in Islamic community

Unlike public officials, the private agency can enter the mosques to clandestinely research the situation. In this case, the agents observed activity, talk to visitors, administrators, and religious leaders, and investigated what they do and say on social media.

All findings then wound up in a secret report which includes personal details about what the administrators and teachers studied, who their relatives are, with whom they argued, and how often they had contact with authorities in foreign countries, like Morocco.

Leaders of the Muslim organizations that were secretly probed say they feel betrayed.

It is unclear whether the practice is legal, which is why several members of the Dutch Parliament are now demanding clarification from the outgoing Minister of Justice and Security, Ferd Grapperhaus, who is said to be involved.

"The ease with which the government violates (fundamental) rights when it comes to Islam or Muslims is shocking," Stephan van Baarle, member of the leftist party DENK, told De Volkskrant, another Dutch newspaper.

Leaders of the Muslim organizations that were secretly probed say they feel betrayed. Hassan Saidi, director of one of the mosques investigated, said that the relationship with the local municipality had been good. "This puts a huge dent in the trust I'd had in the municipality," he told the Dutch public broadcaster NOS.

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