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.”

Wikileaks Reveals US Courted Dutch Muslims

January 21 2011

Wikileaks documents have revealed a concerted effort by Washington to court a series of prominent Dutch Muslims in the wake of the 2004 murder of filmmaker Theo van Gogh. Radio Netherlands Worldwide reports that, following the murder, US authorities deemed the Netherlands home to the most poorly integrated Muslim community in Europe, and one with strongly anti-American views. Consequently, diplomats were instructed to contact leading members of the Dutch Muslim community in order to cultivate greater understanding for American views. This process also involved offering trips to the US for prominent journalists and politicians including Ahmed Aboutaleb, Mayor of Rotterdam.

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.

Politician rejects exchanging Christian for Muslim holidays

State Secretary of Social Affairs and Rotterdam mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb has said that he thinks it is “absurd” to propose that Christian holidays of Easter Monday and Pentecost Monday ought to be replaced with Muslim holidays. Aboutaleb added that such Christian holidays have been embedded in the Dutch calendar, and cannot be touched.

He does, however, support introducing a separate Islamic holiday, and that it ought to be an extra free day for all. Aboutaleb does not foresee this as a possibility in the immediate future, noting that there is significant conflict about the integration of foreigners at the moment, but added: “we are currently in a transition phase, a changeover phase. When that is over, we could discuss it.”

See full text articles:

Reformatorisch Dagblad (Dutch)


Moroccan-born politician becomes first-ever Muslim mayor in Holland

Social Affairs State Secretary Ahmed Aboutaleb will succeed Ivo Opstelten as the mayor of Rotterdam, the second largest city in the Netherlands. Aboutaleb is a member of the Labour party, and has been nominated by the local council to seat the position. He has both Moroccan and Dutch nationality, and is known for combining his Muslim faith with a political style that is characteristically Dutch. The appointment, of the first Muslim nominated for a mayoral position, still needs to be formally confirmed by the home affairs ministry.

See full-text articles:

NIS News

Muslim News

Radio Netherlands

Radio Netherlands

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.

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.