Elias’ photo was shared en masse, and this is his story

Elias’ photo was shared en masse, and this is his story

“Four minutes later I deleted it from Facebook, but two minutes later someone had already taken a screenshot.” The photo was then widely circulated: Elias was even recognized on a street in his city yesterday and today. “I’ve received countless responses to it,” says Elias. “From very positive and supportive messages to unfortunately racist messages as well, although fortunately they are a large minority.”

He presented it on his LinkedIn page Already the first reaction. He told RTL Nieuws that she said “sober” about two days after the exit poll. “The Netherlands is bigger than potential Prime Minister Wilders. We have Dutch legislation that protects our country and protects us as citizens. I also see that in my environment, it does not mean that we all suddenly become afraid.”

‘I’ll participate anywhere’

“We’ll see what happens in the near future,” Elias says. “By no means am I going anywhere. I was born here, studied at UvA and now work at Leiden University. I am fully committed to society and will continue to do so.”

“But still, the result was clear,” Elias says. “37 seats is nothing. I don’t really understand that so many people vote for the Freedom Party, when this party actually wants to restrict freedoms.” This post was originally “intended as a joke.” Between us. But the more I thought about it, it became a joke with a serious wink.”

“I feel like I am Moroccan and Dutch at the same time. As Muslims in the Netherlands, we are expected to conform to society. But it is sometimes difficult to portray ourselves that way when society is so polarized. The more I am addressed and the more we are seen as ‘the other,’” she said. “It’s getting more difficult.”

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Stay in the conversation

“I think everyone should be respected.” And of course, the young Leiden resident really means everyone. “We are Dutch citizens, Muslims or Moroccans. But also voters for the Party for Freedom. I also think it is bad that not many people dare to say that they voted for the Party for Freedom.”

Elias loves talking to them. “I think this is the best thing to do. And perhaps also our duty as Muslims and as a people. When I hear from my colleagues or neighbors that they voted for the Freedom Party, I want to know why. I hope so. If that is the case because of their anti-Islamic views, I might be able to change that.” a little. In any case, we must remain open to dialogue.”

“In recent days, I have heard from many people that they voted for him because of his more moderate tone,” Elias continues. “I hear that a lot around me and I find it special. Then these people told me that they previously thought he had a lot of good points, but they didn’t want to vote for him because he was so anti-Islam. And that if he got it again, they wouldn’t vote for him next time.” “.

Returning to the post, Elias says he is happy that his photo sparked reactions and conversations. “It wasn’t meant to go viral, but I think it’s led to new insights for some people. That’s great.”

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