Understanding Moderation, Extremism, and Reverse Extremism in the Teachings of Islam

By Sheikh Salman Al-Oadah at IslamToday.net

At the present time, the word “extremism” is probably the most incessantly repeated word on the tongues of journalists, writers, and politicians. It is likely that the events of September 11 are what put it in the forefront of popular terminology, for such terminology gives expression to inner feelings and makes up for a lot of talk and lengthy explanations. Extremism is a derived word, and it seems that those who use it mean by it a person who stands far off to one side of the center.

This maze of terminology is a major cause of people not being able to see eye to eye. It is what turns dialogues into screaming matches where no one listens to anyone else. This is especially true for the word “extremism,” because it is an attempt for the one using it to define things from his or her own perspective.

For example, you as a person most likely consider yourself a moderate. Moderation is itself a symbol for balance and virtue and is a sought after quality in everyone’s estimation. Virtue is the middle ground between two extremes of vice. This was Aristotle’s view and it has been upheld by the scholars of Islam like al-Ghazali, Ibn Taymiyah, Ibn al-Qayyim, and others. It is one of the meanings of “the middle nation” mentioned in the Quran:

وَكَذَٰلِكَ جَعَلْنَاكُمْ أُمَّةً وَسَطًا

Thus We have made you a middle nation…

[Surah al-Baqarah 2:143]

If you consider yourself to be a person who represents this noble value of “moderation” then it follows necessarily that you categorize the positions of others accordingly – this one is on the right, that one is on the left, this one is on the far left, that one is an extremist, this one is not an extremist…

This type of outlook might come across as an exaggeration of one’s own perspective and an overestimate of its value, since it makes the individual’s viewpoint the criterion for all judgment and estimation. It might also be seen an attempt to dictate to others how to think without giving them any say in the matter.

There are some people who are naturally disposed, intellectually and psychologically, to balance and moderation. This is a very valuable quality for a person to be blessed with. Scholars have always considered integrity to be the highest virtue, and this quality is typified by harmony and balance between a person’s impulses so that no single impulse can override another. This is achieved under the control of reason, so that when it is achieved, there is balance between the dictates of reason and the person’s behavior.

In contrast to these people are others who are inclined to have one aspect of their personality overpower all others, anger for instance or lust. They can maintain no balance between reason and impulse. Sometimes reason exercises an authoritative control over their impulses and sometimes it is the other way around. This loss of balance can make these people come up with ways of thinking that are far from moderate.

A person’s temperament has a direct effect on the choices, both intellectual and practical, that such a person will be disposed to make unless that person is checked by some stronger outside influence. The result of this is that you find a person’s views, choices, and overall way of life to be related to each other, since they all come from one source.

Fortunately, most people fall within the sphere of justice and moderation when it comes to their everyday dealings. This is the way people are made. The sphere of moderation is by no means narrow; it is in fact a general framework encompassing many broad categories of people. It remains to be said that this natural moderation that most people enjoy is no more that the ability to accept the truth and be affected by it. This type of preparedness is of no benefit, however, unless it has the effects of divine guidance impressed upon it.

For this reason, we see that in the Quran and Sunnah, revelation is likened to rain and a person who is open to guidance is likened to good soil. Even more specifically we see a simile of a humble heart and fertile ground and of a heedless heart and barren land.

Allah says:

أَلَمْ يَأْنِ لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَن تَخْشَعَ قُلُوبُهُمْ لِذِكْرِ اللَّهِ وَمَا نَزَلَ مِنَ الْحَقِّ وَلَا يَكُونُوا كَالَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ مِن قَبْلُ فَطَالَ عَلَيْهِمُ الْأَمَدُ فَقَسَتْ قُلُوبُهُمْ وَكَثِيرٌ مِّنْهُمْ فَاسِقُونَ

Has not the time arrived for the believers that their hearts in all humility should engage in the remembrance of Allah and of the truth that has been revealed to them? And that they should not become like those who were given the scripture before, who as ages passed, their hearts became hard? For many among them are rebellious transgressors.

[Surah Al-Hadid 57:16]

Right after this Allah says:

اعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ يُحْيِي الْأَرْضَ بَعْدَ مَوْتِهَا قَدْ بَيَّنَّا لَكُمُ الْآيَاتِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَعْقِلُونَ

Know that Allah gives life to the Earth after it is dead. We have made the signs clear for you, so that perhaps you may understand.

[Surah Al-Hadid 57:16]

Ibn Kathir, in his commentary on the Quran, says:

فيه إشارة إلى أن الله تعالى يلين القلوب بعد قسوتها، ويهدي الحيارى بعد ضلتها، ويفرج الكروب بعد شدتها

In this verse is an indication that Allah softens the hearts that have been hardened, and that he guides those who are bewildered after they have strayed, and that he eases distress after it had been severe.

Abu Musa al-Ash’ari relates that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said:

 مَثَلُ مَا بَعَثَنِي اللَّهُ بِهِ مِنَ الْهُدَى وَالْعِلْمِ كَمَثَلِ الْغَيْثِ الْكَثِيرِ أَصَابَ أَرْضًا، فَكَانَ مِنْهَا نَقِيَّةٌ قَبِلَتِ الْمَاءَ، فَأَنْبَتَتِ الْكَلأَ وَالْعُشْبَ الْكَثِيرَ، وَكَانَتْ مِنْهَا أَجَادِبُ أَمْسَكَتِ الْمَاءَ، فَنَفَعَ اللَّهُ بِهَا النَّاسَ، فَشَرِبُوا وَسَقَوْا وَزَرَعُوا، وَأَصَابَتْ مِنْهَا طَائِفَةً أُخْرَى، إِنَّمَا هِيَ قِيعَانٌ لاَ تُمْسِكُ مَاءً، وَلاَ تُنْبِتُ كَلأً، فَذَلِكَ مَثَلُ مَنْ فَقِهَ فِي دِينِ اللَّهِ وَنَفَعَهُ مَا بَعَثَنِي اللَّهُ بِهِ، فَعَلِمَ وَعَلَّمَ، وَمَثَلُ مَنْ لَمْ يَرْفَعْ بِذَلِكَ رَأْسًا، وَلَمْ يَقْبَلْ هُدَى اللَّهِ الَّذِي أُرْسِلْتُ بِهِ

What Allah sent me with of guidance and knowledge is like abundant rain that falls on the land. Some of the land is pure and rich, so when the rain hits it, it produces abundant grass and pasture, and where this land is free of growth, it takes in the water so that Allah benefits the people with it. They drink it, give it to their animals, and use it in agriculture. Other land, however, is flat and barren, neither retaining the water nor producing pasture. The first type of land is like the one who possesses understanding of the religion and benefits from what Allah had sent to me, so he learns it and teaches others. The other land is like the one who pays no heed and refuses to accept the guidance that Allah has sent to me.

[Sahih Bukhari, Book 3, Number 79]

This leads us to the conclusion that true balance and integrity is built upon two foundations:

  1. Adhering to the truth that comes from Allah and His Messenger, peace be upon him, and applying the revealed teachings to all the problems of life, great and small.
  2. The innate quality in a person that predisposes him to accept this truth.

Revelation is the light and the person ready to accept its guidance is the lamp from which that light shines. According to one interpretation mentioned by Ibn Kathir, this is why Allah says:

مَثَلُ نُورِهِ كَمِشْكَاةٍ فِيهَا مِصْبَاحٌ الْمِصْبَاحُ فِي زُجَاجَةٍ

The parable of His light is like a niche within it a lamp…

[Surah al-Nur 24:35]

Revelation is the rain, and the person who has willingness to accept it is like good, fertile ground. This simile can be found in other texts besides the ones we have mentioned. This means that divine revelation from the Quran and Sunnah is the proper standard of judgment. The people who carry the Law in this manner are, in every generation, the balanced and moderate people. This is clear from the following hadith:

يحمل هذا العلم من كل خلف عدوله ينفون عنه تحريف الغالين وتأويل الجاهلين وانتحال المبطلين

This knowledge is carried in each generation by the people of just moderation who reject the spurious interpretations of the ignorant, the claims of those on falsehood, and the distortions of the fanatics.

[al-Tamhid 1/59]

This is clear and to the point, and there are many texts like it. This shows that the people of justice, balance, and moderation who are guided by the light of the Quran and Sunnah are the mainstream to which all others are to be brought back.

Fanaticism of any kind is the exception that makes the rule. This is why the Prophet warns against fanaticism. Ibn Abbas relates that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said:

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِيَّاكُمْ وَالْغُلُوَّ فِي الدِّينِ فَإِنَّهُ أَهْلَكَ مَنْ كَانَ قَبْلَكُمْ الْغُلُوُّ فِي الدِّين

O people, keep away from fanaticism in religion, for those who came before you were only brought to destruction by their fanaticism in religion.

[Sunan ibn Majah, Book of Rites, Number 3029]

The Companions of the Prophet, peace be upon him, were the just and balanced moderates who were a witness over mankind. Those who go to extremes or fall into fanaticism must be brought back to the way of the Companions, as well as those who fall into antipathy and carelessness.

Extremism in an Islamic framework means deviance in understanding Islamic teachings or in applying them, in spite of the fact that some of these extremists might present their arguments from an Islamic standpoint or be motivated by religious feelings. Islamic history provides us with the example of the Khawarij, the first and possibly severest extremist group in Islam. They were neither convinced nor satisfied with the understanding and application of Islam exhibited by the Companions, preferring to split the fabric of Muslim society, go off on their own, and then turn against the rest of the Muslims violently. Their origins stretch back to a disturbed individual who criticized the justice of the Prophet, peace be upon him, saying to him, “Muhammad, be just!” This was the beginning of a sect that would consider itself select, that would believe itself to be true, sincere, and pure, and that would deem all others to be oppressors and deviants far from the straight way.

However, it would be a mistake to always give the Khawarij as the example of extremism. This will give people the impression that extremism is a Muslim commodity. It must not go unnoticed that there is Jewish extremism out there presently taking the form of major and official political parties and organizations that boast about their fanaticism and feel no shame in making public their hostile and threatening demands against their opponents, not to mention the systematic fanaticism that has become an official part of Jewish politics and that is the common denominator underlying the full spectrum of Jewish opinion. No different is the Christian extremism that shows itself in hundreds of Christian groups and organizations throughout the United States and their tens of millions of members.

The events of September 11 provided these people with the opportunity to come out in the open with the enmity that they harbor against Islam and the Muslims. Some of them have demanded the obliteration of everything Islamic. Others have demanded the destruction all places sacred to Muslims. Many official voices have been raised accusing Islam itself for what happened, declaring it to be an evil and loathsome religion.

This goes for the official policies that have brought about in the United States a special style of dictatorship just for the Arabs and Muslims, excluding them from the laws that protect the general public and denying them the rights possessed by the rest of the population. This course of action is itself a repugnant form of extremism. Even more extreme are the exaggerated abuses of power being exhibited by the allies, their flagrant disregard of human rights, their aggression against the Afghani people, and their casual approach to bloodshed. The only difference is that this is the extremism of the powerful who do not need to justify their actions.

Then there is the extremism of the secularists in the Muslim world who persist in trying to apply Western experience – or to even fully transplant Western society – to the Muslim world. Worse than this are those among them who adopt belligerent policies borrowed from the Communists to besiege religious people in all sectors of society and deny them access to the media, employment, social positions, and political power.

The reactions and counter-reactions that ensue from this have no limits. Extremism breeds extremism. The best environment to spread extremist ideas is one where the people are oppressed and denied their natural human rights. This denies them the opportunity to be calm and emotionally stable. It puts strain on their personal lives, their religious lives, their family lives, and their financial dealings.

Extremism – by which we mean transgressing the bounds of justice as defined by divine revelation and deviating from the natural disposition inherent in the human being – is without doubt a problem of crisis proportions. The history of civilization provides us with numerous examples of this extremism, while the Message of Islam can be seen as the ideal way of dealing with it. Nevertheless, we are not here to react to the West and exchange accusations with it and the rest of the world. We are in no need of such a battle which could scarcely bring us any benefit. What is important is that we realize how much we need to develop the understanding of the Muslims on an individual level, so we can all recognize extremism that takes us outside the framework of Islam. It may also be good for us to realize that the West both produces extremism and exports it. It may be that some of us are its consumers. At the same time, we must be aware that extremism has not reached crisis proportions when it is restricted to a few groups; however, the security of the world is threatened when it becomes the official law enjoying its own legitimacy. This is what we see coming from within political circles and institutions with executive power in the West, and this may have far-reaching effects. The Jews would probably be chosen as the best candidate in the world for such a description if the peoples of the world were given the freedom to decide matters for themselves.

There is a need for us to broaden our intellectual sights and not just let the West define for us what extremism is. We must become cognizant of the fact that extremism goes beyond the realm of Law and turn into the message of a civilization capturing the minds of people all over the world and neither the West nor the East can fully contain it.

Here we must realize that the West is going through a time of crisis, and even though we may be suffering something of the same, we must be ready to get beyond our problem. This can only be achieved by a commitment to clemency, moderation, and balance and spreading the correct teachings of our religion that puts an end to all contradictions and instability.

(www.faithinallah.org / 21.04.2012)

‘Protester killed’ during Bahrain clashes

Opposition groups say Salah Abbas Habib was beaten by police before being found dead one day ahead of Sunday’s F1 race.

Protesters have clashed with riot police in several villages across Bahrain
Al-Wefaq, Bahrain’s main opposition bloc, has said that a man has been found dead after clashes with riot police in the village of Shakhoura, a day before the Gulf state stages its Formula One Grand Prix.

Al-Wefaq named the dead demonstrator on Saturday as Salah Abbas Habib, 37, and said his body was found on the roof of a building.

It said Habib was part of a group who were beaten by police during clashes late on Friday night.

Mohammed Eissa, Habib’s brother in law, told the Reuters news agency that police had not allowed the family to see the body when they went to the compound where it was found.

“We wanted to see it before it was taken so we can identify the body, but we were told to go the morgue and identify it there,” Eissa said.

In a statement on the microblogging website Twitter, the interior ministry confirmed the death and said authorities have launched an investigation into the incident.

The death came as the royal family pledged once again that the F1 event wold go ahead despite the ongoing protests by the country’s mainly Shia population demanding greater rights.

“I genuinely believe this race is a force for good, it unites many people from many different religious backgrounds, sects and ethnicities,” Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, who owns the rights to the event, said on Friday.

Dozens of armoured vehicles and security forces in riot gear have been deployed along the road to the Bahrain International Circuit and around the capital, Manama.

Activists said barbed wire has been installed near some parts of the main highway.

Protests continue

Bahraini police fired teargas to break up a protest in an area outside Manama on Saturday and protesters responded with petrol bombs.

“Protesters were at a roundabout in Diraz and police tried to move them by firing teargas. They started throwing petrol bombs back at them,” a witness told Reuters.

He said there were up to 150 protesters, who had taken part in a march of several thousand people earlier for democratic reforms and against the staging of the Formula One race, and around 50 riot police in jeeps.

In another demonstration west of Manama earlier on Saturday, protesters carried banners depicting Formula One race drivers as riot police beat up protesters, activists said.

Violence escalating

Violence has escalated in the run-up to the Grand Prix, which has come under huge criticism from country’s mainly Shia protesters, while the government wants the race to run as per schedule to send out a signal to the world of a return of normalcy.

“The government are using the Formula One race to serve their PR campaign,” said rights activist Nabeel Rajab. “It’s not turning out the way they wanted.”

The protesters have blamed the Sunni ruling elite for shutting them out of opportunities, jobs and housing.

They have made it clear they will use the international attention the motor race has focused on Bahrain to air their grievances.

The rulers have depicted the race – expected to draw a worldwide TV audience of about 100 million in 187 countries – as an event that will put the divided society on the path of reconciliation.


On Friday, thousands of anti-government protesters were dispersed after flooding a major highway demanding a halt to the race on the first day of practice.

Al Jazeera’s special correspondent in Manama, who cannot be named for security reasons, said: “I would say about 3,000 people gathered with banners and chanting for freedom and democracy and dignity.”

“That demonstration has now been effectively disrupted by the police.”

He said a “good deal” of the protesters had taken cover from the tear gas and riot police in a shopping mall.

Activists said that more than 100 protest organisers were arrested this week. Police acknowledged arresting some people.

(www.aljazeera.com / 21.04.2012)

Hunger grips Yemen’s children

The whole team was shocked. We knew we were looking for evidence of child hunger, but we never expected skeletal babies – close to death.

Yemen has had massive food security problems for years.

The list goes on forever: lack of water, productive land used to grow Qat – the narcotic plant people here chew daily – instead of food, economic dysfunction, and a population explosion. They were always leading to disaster.

Violence and chaos across Yemen since the country’s revolution started last January, has been the last straw for the Arab world’s poorest country. Such chaos reaches into the lives, and pockets, of poor, rural villagers.

Electricity has been cut, roads closed, and as a result, employment levels have plummeted.

Dr Hanaa Aladini works at the Sebeen Hospital in Sana’a, and was keen to show us the children she is treating.

She sees a constant trickle of such families come to her with the same tale: work has dried up for the father, and the hunger was too much for the youngest to bear.

Her voice cracks when she speaks of the circumstances of the children, as emotion overcomes the privacy of the full face veil she wears.

‘The tiny bodies are still breathing’

The ward is almost silent. In a city where locals are notoriously noisy and charismatic, people whisper between these white walls. It feels like a morgue. But the tiny bodies are still breathing.

Faris lies in his mother’s arms, and he never takes his eyes off the camera. His enormous eyes are popping out of what seems like an enormous head, perched on a tiny skeleton.

He is full of lethargy. When food is given, it come straight back up again – his body can’t cope with it any more. I have seen this kind of lethargy before in Somalia last year during the famine, when children and babies don’t even cry any more. But never in the Middle East.

Asalah, in the next room, does cry. Frighteningly tiny, her mother tells us she is six months old. She looks like she’s in terrible pain.

There are a handful of other infants in the ward, but not many. They are those who can just about afford the journey to Sana’a and the small fees at this hospital. This is the tip of the iceberg, says Dr Aladini.

The situation in the villages is dire, her patients tell her.

The statistics for malnutrition and hunger in Yemen are terrifying. Almost a quarter of the Yemeni population needs urgent food assistance right now, according to the World Food Program.

Sebeen Hospital’s ward for malnourished children sits in the shadows of the city’s famous Al Saleh Mosque.

It cost $60 million to build.

The country’s poorest families can only hope that the economic policies of the new government might consider more carefully their needs.

(blogs.aljazeera.com / 21.04.2012)

Media Freedom in Morocco Takes a Backward Step

“Islamist ministers are having trouble casting off their religious clothes and dealing with their ministerial jobs” 

That statement from a Moroccan news website was in response to the rather foolish comments by a newly elected Moroccan Justice Minister, Mustafa Ramid, who upset almost everybody by claiming tourists went to Marrakech in order to sin. Now another minister has created an unholy row by attempting to make public TV and Radio stations more religious. It is unfortunate to have come at a time when the media in Morocco are seeking greater press freedom. Ibn Warraq reports.

Communications Minister Mustapha Khalfi

“Khalfi is the minister of communications and a government official, not an imam or a mufti to say what is licit or illicit,” Mohammed Ouzzine, Minister of Sport

Somehow it has escaped the Communications Minister Mustapha Khalfi from the newly elected moderate Islamist party that he is a servant of the people and not an imam.  His new guidelines for public broadcasters include petty measures such as banning lottery advertisements and mandating the broadcast of the call to prayer five times a day.

In another controversial section the detailed guidelines also call for reducing the amount of French on public television and including programs about youth and social issues that must include a mufti, or Muslim cleric.

“These channels are performing a public service and so they must submit to certain minimum requirements,” Khalifi told L’Economiste daily last Thursday.

The state channels previously had little overtly religious programming.

The furor over the guidelines’ religious aspects has grown over the last few weeks as the heads of the normally docile public TV stations have publicly criticized the measures as a threat to their independence.

Observers say the controversy is also about a newly elected government attempting to assert itself against the all-powerful palace and king that have traditionally controlled the media.

In an interview on Friday, the news director for Channel 2M said the guidelines represent “a will to kill the programming on Channel Two. This is not a license agreement. It is a programing list, and logic and our profession says that politics should not dictate TV programing,” Samira Sitail told the daily Al-Ahdath Al-Maghrebiya.

The head of public broadcasting, Faisal Laraachi, said: “Our editorial independence is sacred.”

Members of Khalfi’s own Justice and Development Party have fired back, with one parliamentarian threatening street demonstrations against the heads of state media, if the measures aren’t adopted.
“These figures fighting against our party are the same ones resisting reform,” Abdallah Bouanou told the daily Akhbar al-Maghrebiya.

The influential Morocco World News is reporting that Abdelilalh Benkirane, head of the government, is believed to be heading towards dismissing both Samira Sitail, head of the news department of 2M channel, as well as Salim Sheikh, director of the channel.

PM Abdelilah Benkirane and Samira Sitail head of news at 2M-TV

Backed by constitutional amendments that give the government greater powers, the Islamist-led government has been flexing its muscles. Yet, if PM Benkirane does not bring a little more common sense to his ministers’ proclamations, he may find he is leading a one-term government. Or, in the short term may even forfeit its majority, because, while the Islamists are the dominant party in the coalition, it shares power with three other parties.

Many of these coalition partners are uneasy with the Islamist party’s reform efforts and a number of ministers have been vocally critical of the media guidelines.  Nabil Benabdellah, the minister of housing and former communications minister from the left-wing Party of Progress and Socialism, even threatened to quit the government over the guidelines before backing down in a later radio interview.

There is also opposition to the guidelines from the public who who fear the Islamization of the media. At a time when the Arab Spring could have headed to a glorious Arab Summer, these developments could be an indication of an early and unpleasant Autumn.
(riadzany.blogspot.com / 21.04.2012)

Veiligheidsraad bereikt principeakkoord over Syrië

De Veiligheidsraad van de Verenigde Naties heeft vannacht een principeakkoord bereikt over een resolutie omtrent de waarnemersmissie in Syrië. Het aantal waarnemers wordt uitgebreid van dertig naar driehonderd en secretaris-generaal Ban Ki-moon neemt op basis van de ontwikkelingen in Syrië een beslissing over de inzet van de waarnemers.

In de resolutie worden de Syrische regering en de oppositie opgeroepen direct alle geweld te staken. Er wordt bovendien met klem aangedrongen op de invoering van het vredesplan van Syrië-gezant Kofi Annan. De uiteindelijke resolutie waarover gestemd gaat worden is een samensmelting van de tekst zoals die is voorgesteld door Rusland en de tekst van Europese Raad.

Volgens de Franse VN-ambassadeur Gérard Araud werd urenlang over de resolutie onderhandeld. Het voorstel voor de resolutie wordt nu naar de lidstaten gestuurd waarna er zaterdag over wordt gestemd.

De Russische VN-ambassadeur Vitali Tsjoerkin zei te hopen dat er unaniem wordt ingestemd met de resolutie. Hij hoopt dat de tekst een ‘stevig en goed politiek signaal’ afgeeft aan de Syrische regering en de oppositie.

De Amerikaanse ambassadeur Susan Rice zei echter dat de mogelijkheid bestaat dat niet alle vijftien leden van de Veiligheidsraad het eens zijn met de tekst. Araud zei dat de Veiligheidsraad zo snel mogelijk waarnemers wil sturen. Tegelijkertijd moet echter rekening worden gehouden met de gevaren voor de waarnemers, aldus de VN-ambassadeur. Daarom moet Ban eerst een inschatting maken van de ontwikkelingen in Syrië. ‘Het is een nieuw soort missie. Het is de eerste keer dat de VN waarnemers naar een oorlogsgebied sturen. Er wordt nog steeds gevochten, er is nog steeds sprake van geweld’, aldus Araud.

(www.parool.nl / 21.04.2012)

Nablus residents protest against rubbish dump

NABLUS (Ma’an) — Dozens of residents in Nablus demonstrated outside municipal offices on Saturday to demand that the local council remove a rubbish dump which they say is a health hazard.

Protesters called for the Palestinian Authority to intervene in removing the dump, which they say contaminates ground water in the area and emits a foul smell.

Dr Jawad Beitar, head of a local committee in Nablus, told Ma’an that the rubbish site, situated in the al-Badhan area, posed a threat to the health of residents.

Nablus mayor Adli Yaish said the dumping site was constructed on the condition that it would not endanger public health, adding that he has ordered a committee to examine the risks of the site.

A local council official said that the dump discourages tourists and locals from visiting the area.

(www.maannews.net / 21.04.2012)


De Haagse redactie van RTL Nieuws heeft bevestigd gekregen dat het Catshuisoverleg is mislukt. De zeven weken durende onderhandelingen liepen uiteindelijk stuk op de consequenties van de CPB-cijfers.

Catshuisoverleg na zeven weken geklapt

RTL Nieuws-verslaggever Steven Schoppert meldde eerder, dat hij Geert Wilders heeft zien wegrijden. Volgens ingewijden kan de PVV-leider na overleg met zijn fractie de afspraken niet voor zijn rekening nemen. Er moet tussen de 12 en 16 miljard bezuinigd worden.

Berekeningen CPB

Met de berekeningen van het CPB was duidelijk wat de gevolgen zijn van de ingrijpende maatregelen die het kabinet kan nemen. VVD, CDA en PVV moesten zich afvragen of ze dit voor hun rekening willen nemen en of ze het aan hun achterban en de rest van de bevolking kunnen uitleggen.

Beslissende fase

Het was van tevoren duidelijk dat het een spannende dag zou worden. Niemand durfde te zeggen of er een akkoord uit zou rollen, het overleg zou klappen of besloten zou worden maandag verder te praten.

7 weken bezig

De onderhandelaars premier Mark Rutte en fractievoorzitter Stef Blok (VVD), Maxime Verhagen en Sybrand van Haersma Buma (CDA) en Geert Wilders en Fleur Agema (PVV) onderhandelen al sinds 5 maart in het Catshuis.

(www.rtl.nl / 21.04.2012)