They call it the City of Peace, the Dutch political capital of s'Gravenhage, better known as The Hague and home to the magnificent Peace Palace. But in one district, according to a recent report in Dutch daily Trouw, it isn't peace that rules there, but Sharia.
"Non-Muslim and moderate Muslim residents of the Schilderswijk district have had problems [with Orthodox Muslims]," according to the Trouw story, written by veteran reporter Perdiep Ramesar, "They say they are criticized over issues that displease the Orthodox majority, such as smoking in public and the consumption of alcohol and pork."
Indeed, many residents refer to the area as "Sharia-wijk," (meaning "Sharia district") having, according to Ramesar, "watched the development, over the years, of a 'small caliphate' governed by a 'mini Sharia'" where women are scolded for appearing on the street unveiled or wearing sleeveless dresses on hot summer days. The changes, he says, are "subtle" – but real. "Slowly but surely the rules of the neighborhood are changing," he writes. "The norm of the majority increasingly holds sway."