COC is calling for action after a publication by Dutch media Nieuwsuur and NRC Handelsblad revealed the content of the books (“Help me! I’m becoming an adult”) meant for Muslim students. Part of the book tells the story of Lut from Sodom in which men of Sodom started to engage in sexual relations with each other. According to the book, this was condemned by Allah and in turn punished the men by “destroying all the buildings, people and animals. He turned the street tiles around and made it rain hard clay stones.” The books also noted how the prohibition of sexual relations between people of the same sex originated from this story.
The book also describes that men are not the same as women and that Allah would forbid sex change procedures, because he “damns” the boys who want to look like girls and vice versa. “Imagine being a Muslim trans girl or gay boy, and having to use these books at school. Books that actually say you cannot exist. It is horrible, unacceptable and against the law. Students have the right to be at a school where they can feel safe and accepted. Such books don’t make kids feel like that,” COC chairwoman Astrid Oosenbrug says.
The organization wants the education inspection to take action against schools that use such study material. Oosenbrug calls the books “horrible, which will terrify young Muslim LGBTI persons.” In the Netherlands, all schools can get government subsidies, including religion-based schools. Receiving state money implies that the schools will be monitored by the national education inspection.
After the publication of the Dutch news media, the school organization that provides the books released an extra guide for teachers. According to the guide, teachers have to refer to the parts that say everyone should be treated with respect, “no matter their sexuality nor their way of living.” The guide also urges teachers to do exercises that teach children that the Islam condemns violence against homosexuals. If students are struggling with their sexuality, the guide emphasizes the importance of talking with them and perhaps including professionals on the matter.