AMSTERDAM — The Roman Catholic Bishop of the Dutch city of Roermond has spoken out against Turkey joining the European Union.
Bishop Frans Wiertz expressed fear that Muslims in the Netherlands often don't accept democratic principles. He made his comments in the Limburg magazine 'Chapeau!' which was published on Wednesday.
"Politicians underestimate the problem of Islam in Europe," Wiertz said. "We are surrendering our own norms and values of mutual esteem and respect. On the other hand, there is barely any or no freedom of religion in Turkey."
"With the coming of a hundred million Turks you are planting a democratic bomb under Europe," the bishop said.
Wiertz went on to say: "In our own country we have dropped the principle of the majority decides. Because we want to put everything and everyone on an equal footing, a small minority has actually got an enormous grip on society. But for very many Muslims - even in this country - the democratic principle is alien to them. They have never learned to accept it".
The bishop said newcomers had to be taught to accept democratic principles. He expressed doubt whether Islamic schools were doing enough to promote this. "We must not be so naive, otherwise the bottom of our society threatens to collapse".
Wiertz said he was worried about the rise of Islamic orthodoxy in Turkey. He said it was very difficult for Roman Catholics to be open about their faith in Turkey, while there was absolutely no religious freedom in most 'Arabic' countries.