Increase in cases of radicalization in Rotterdam.

This year 29 cases of radicalization have been reported, compared with 20 in 2013 and 16 in 2012, so there has been increase. According to the major, Ahmed Aboutaleb, this doesn’t mean that more youth become radicalized, but persons are more alert.

The newspaper had an interview with Aboutaleb, in which he says that the term ‘jihadism’ can be explained in different ways, but it is problematic when it is characterized by ideas of racism, discrimination or not being able to find a job (in the Netherlands), although religion seems to be the most important factor. The mayor also says that if people reject [the foundations of] the Dutch society, they can leave, but also should hand in their passport.

Dutch Muslim Response to Innocence of Islam

25 September 2012

 

Response to the movie Innocence of Islam among Dutch Muslim communities has not had a strong public presence. Two peaceful demonstrations occurred on the city. On Friday September 15 the women’s organization Cleopatra organized a protest to the movie at Amsterdam’s Dam Square. On Sunday  a group of about 50 people gathered at the Museumplein near the American consulate, under the instigation of the Islamic organization Behind Bars. Both demonstrations were peaceful, with the police and consulate informed in advance.

A spokesperson for Sharia4Holland spoke out against the film, predicting further protests. However the outspoken comments from this group have remained marginal. In contrast the most publicly visible Muslim voice responding to the movie has been a statement from Rotterdam’s Muslim mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb. Speaking to RTV Rijnmond Aboutaleb said Muslims should not take the controversial film too seriously, commenting that demonstrations are acceptable so long as they do not get out of hand. The mayor sees no reason to block the film on YouTube and noted, “You can always make your own film on YouTube as a response.”

Biggest Mosque in Netherlands Opens

December 17 2010

The Essalam Mosque in Rotterdam was opened by the city’s mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb and city councilor Hamit Karakus on December 17. It is the largest mosque in the country, and opens after seven years of construction and considerable controversy surrounding the extent of “foreign influence” on the project. The building will serve around 2.500 Moroccan Muslims living in the Rotterdam South district.

Moroccans compensated for speaking with Rotterdam mayor

Telegraaf reports that 100 to 150 Dutch Moroccans in Rotterdam received compensation for speaking with mayor Aboutaleb. The payment was compensation for participation in meetings of approximately 2.5 hours during which individuals shared their success stories or problems with the mayor as a part of five “Moroccan tables” (meetings). Recently Antilleans in Rotterdam received the same compensation for similar discussions.

The municipality explains its payment as compensation for the time that individuals give up in order to participate in the meetings, including allowing for childcare and travel expenses. But Telegraaf quotes others, including Ronald Sorensen of Leefbaar Rotterdam, who are against compensating citizens for what should be considered their “moral duty”.

New Dutch Muslim Cabinet minister accuses lawmaker of racially motivated political attacks

One of the first two Muslims appointed to a Dutch Cabinet post, Ahmed Aboutaleb calls himself a “foot soldier” in the cause of immigrant integration. And as a foot soldier, he expects to be a target, he said Wednesday. Since being sworn in last month as junior minister for social affairs, Aboutaleb and fellow Muslim Cabinet minister Nebahat Albayrak have come under sustained political fire over their dual nationalities. Anti-immigration lawmaker Geert Wilders, whose Freedom Party won nine seats in the 150-seat Dutch parliament in elections last November, claims their dual passports – Aboutaleb has Moroccan and Dutch nationality, Albayrak Turkish and Dutch – mean they also have split loyalties. Aboutaleb rejects the idea, pointing out that Dutch citizens who collaborated with their country’s Nazi occupiers during World War II only had one passport.

Netherlands government sworn in

The new Dutch government has been by sworn in by Queen Beatrix after meeting for the first time to formally adopt its policy guidelines. (…) The new governing coalition, led by Jan Peter Balkenende, the incumbent prime minister and head of the Christian Democrats party, will be further to the political left than the previous government which sought to limit non-Western immigration to the Netherlands. (…) The new cabinet contains the first Muslims to reach the inner core of political power in the Netherlands. Ahmed Aboutaleb, the son of a Moroccan imam, was sworn in as a state secretary, or junior minister, while Nebahat Albayrak, a Turkish-born lawyer, becomes junior justice minister. Balkenende’s previous coalitions, dominated by the Christian Democrats and free market VVD, had tried to reduce immigration in a country which once had the some of the weakest controls on immigrants and asylum seekers of any European country. Softer line on immigrants The new government has already demonstrated its leftwards shift by allowing thousands of illegal immigrants due for deportation to remain in the country. But it also will keep in place policies designed to force new arrivals to integrate, such as mandatory assimilation classes and Dutch language lessons.

Row over Dutch Muslim ministers

The appointment of two Muslim politicians to the new Dutch cabinet has reawakened a row in the country over dual nationality. Nebahat Albayrak and Ahmed Aboutaleb are both Dutch passport holders, but also have Turkish and Moroccan passports respectively. Right-wing opposition parties want to see an end to dual nationality. The row has led to a call for Princess Maxima, the wife of the Crown Prince, to give up her Argentine nationality. Ahmed Aboutaleb, from Morocco, is the State Secretary for Social Affairs in the new cabinet. Nebahat Albayrak is Turkish and becomes the State Secretary for Justice. Lowered popularity They are the first Muslims to reach the heart of Dutch politics. The opposition right-wing Freedom Party has objected to the new centrist government being allowed to have members with dual nationality. The outgoing right-wing Integration Minister, Rita Verdonk, said Princess Maxima, who is married to the heir to the Dutch throne, Prince Willem Alexander, should give up her Argentine passport. Opinion polls show the row over dual nationality has lowered the popularity of the new government. But Ahmed Aboutaleb is credited with helping immigrants to find jobs as well as pushing for more integration.