Dutch man sentenced to community service for offending Muslims

A 60 year old from Nieuwegein (Utrecht) was sentenced for insulting Muslims Friday. The court in Utrecht gave him forty hours of community service and two weeks suspended sentence, Trouw reports. The man was also charged for threatening a member of the Amersfoort city council.

In February 2009 the man turned his back on the Muslim woman who attempted to serve him at a pharmacy. He said he thought it was revolting to look at ‘them’, referring to Muslims, public prosecutors claimed. The court decided that ‘offending a group based on religion’ had been demonstrated in this case.

Neighbourhood tensions around Amersfoort Mosque

De Stad Amersfoort reports this week on ongoing tensions between the El Fath mosque and the wider community in in Liendert (Amersfoort). After several incidents of confrontation the local party BPA is pressing in the local council for police supervision, however the mosque administration says the unrest is exaggerated in the media.

Disagreements in recent months between mosque-visitors and residents have arisen regarding bicycling on the footpath parallel to the Valleikanaal, cars being double parked in the neighborhood, and dogs being let loose near the mosque. Abdelkarim Elkarti, the El Fath spokesperson and former board member says that a small number of residents are attempting to draw undue attention to the mosque on political grounds. He explains, “There’s absolutely no issue here of the situation escalating. We’re doing many activities for and with the neighborhood and we’ve received many expressions of support and positive reactions.”

Mosque to be Auctioned in Amsterdam

For the first time in Dutch history, a house of prayer is being put up for auction because of a financial conflict. The Amersfoort Rahman mosque might be put up for auction, and if it goes through it will be the first time that a functioning house of prayer will be forced to be sold off publicly.

The reason for the approaching sale is a financial conflict which has been dragging on between the Amsterdam housing association Stadgenoot (formerly Het Oosten) and the Manderen investment firm. Stadgenoot says Manderen, which is linked to the Turkish mosque association Milli Görüs, owes them 6 million euros. According to Fatih Dag of Manderen, the outstanding debt of 4.5 million euro has already been collected by the court. Stadgenoot now intends to collects its debts from Manderen by foreclosure sale.

Trouw reports that the ongoing affair began in 1994 when the housing association and Manderen were going to build a complex together which would include a large mosque. In 2000 the agreement was finalized and the first stone laid in 2006. However, since then the construction has not advanced and relations between the organizations have stagnated.