Education Minister Van Bijsterveldt says all imams in the Netherlands should jointly speak against homophobic violence and support respecting gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders.

"I would really appreciate it if they do that, just like Christian churches did not so long ago," she said yesterday during a meeting of SMN (Alliance of Moroccan-Dutch) in Utrecht. The minister said it would be a strong signal that everyone can be part of the Muslim community, regardless of sexual orientation, origin or culture.

Yesterday Van Bijsterveldt received the results of a three-year project of dialog meetings, expert meeting and school meetings that SMN conducted among Moroccans on accepting gays in their community. "It must really come from inside one's own community, It can't come from outside. That's why I have such admiration for the courage of leaders and others who stand up in this community and support accepting gays," she said.

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