In Amsterdam Nieuw-West, where an Islamic high school was opened recently, two men with balaclava masks have climbed its roof and hung an anti-Islam banner. The men were eventually talked off the roof by the police and arrested for alleged disrupting public order.
The two men of 29 and 32 years old, were identified as members of the campaign group ‘Identitarian Resistance’ (Identitair Verzet). The group tries to ban immigration and ‘islamization’ and promotes the preservation of the ‘Dutch identity’. The extremist right group was founded in 2012 and have since then threatened to physically demonstrate at the ‘Refugee Church’ (Vluchtkerk) in Amsterdam for refugees whose asylum applications have been refused. The municipality of Amsterdam decided that the group was not allowed to do that because of the potential disturbance risk, but the group managed to catch the media’s eye. While on the roof, the men first hung a banner at the front of the school with the text “Salafism not welcome” (Salafisme niet welkom). After this banner was removed by one of the school’s employees, the men hung another banner which said: “Who sows Islam, will harvest Sharia” (wie Islam zaait, zal Sharia oogsten). They were also heard shouting: “Salafism, terrorism.”
While lessons at the school would start the next week, there were students present in the building for an introductory day. While Identitarian Resistance also ‘protested’ the installment of a new mosque in the city of Venlo recently, Pegida members in Leiden prevented children from an Islamic primary school from entering their school at the beginning of the new schoolyear. They hung a padlock around the fence, accompanied by a note and a picture of a skull that said: “The Islam is causing terrible attacks in Europe. You have to tackle the roots of the problem. That would also be closing Islamic schools.”
A man armed with a Kalashnikov automatic rifle, a handgun and a knife opened fire on a train traveling from Amsterdam to Paris on Friday before being overpowered by two passengers, both US soldiers. One of the soldiers, and another passenger, were both injured before the assailant was arrested. The attacker is believed to be Ayoub El Kahzzani – the name that French anti-terrorism authorities passed to their Spanish and other European counterparts on Friday night in order to carry out identity checks.
Spanish authorities described the suspect as “very radical and potentially dangerous”
Spain has information on this 26-year-old Moroccan national because he was legally resident in the country for seven years. Spanish anti-terrorism sources have told EL PAÍS that the suspect lived in Spain between 2007 and 2014, first in Madrid, then in the southern port city of Algeciras. He moved to France in March last year and from there traveled to Syria, allegedly to try to enlist with Islamic State. When he left Spain, Spanish authorities alerted the French intelligence services about his presence in France, describing him as “very radical and potentially dangerous.” He was also known to Belgian authorities.
El Kahzzani was legally resident in Spain, possessing a foreigner’s identification number, and his record shows that he was also arrested three times for drug trafficking, twice in Madrid and once in the Spanish north African exclave of Ceuta, the sources said.
The Dutch Jewish and Muslim communities have deceived upon a joint march for solidarity in Amsterdam as a symbol against hatred. Jews and Muslims will walk together from the synagogue at the Jonas Daniël Meijerplein until the Al Kabir mosque at Weesperzijde. At both houses of worship a ceremony of laying down flowers will be held.
By means of the march for solidarity the participants are resisting against aggression against synagogues and mosques, antisemitism and Muslim hatred, and are pleading for peace, respect, love, and friendship.
The dialogue organization
– brought into existence last year with the goal of bringing together Jews and Muslims – organizes the march together with the liberal Jewish community and the Al Kabir Mosque. According to the organizers non-Jews and non-Muslims are also welcome.
Minister of Integration and Vice Prime Minister Lodewijk Asscher thinks it is also a responsibility of the Dutch Muslim community the bar preachers of hate from the Netherlands. He has stated that he sees it as a task for Dutch Muslims to not invite these characters. The minister has stated so after a meeting with Muslimas in Amsterdam.
According to the minister a role might be played by Islamic organizations that are united in the CMO (English: Contact Organization for Muslims and Government). “They can make sure these creeps will not be invited and can alert the government when these kinds of imams come to the Netherlands,” Asscher said.
If it were to the minister these “hate imams” would not be given entrance to the Netherlands. Their coming does not help in the protection of Muslim youth against “the poison that they spread.” We cannot purify the society totally from this hatred,” Asscher said. “But we can make the youth more able to defend itself.”
Recently a meeting was organized in the Nelson Mandela Centre in Amsterdam by various civil society organizations under the title “Joining Powers Against Islamophobia.” Among the organizers where the Collective Against Islamophobia and Discrimination (CTID) and the Euro-Mediterranean Centre for Migration and Development (EMCEMO).
Among other things the meeting resulted in the establishment of a “Manifest Against Islamophobia.” Organizations and individuals can sign the manifest. Th initiative made a powerful statement against all forms of discrimination stating that “The government and politics should strive for a solidary society in which every citizen is valued and protected: gays, Jews, women, men, old or young, regardless of skin color, religion or ethnic background. A solidary society which in the most forceful manner takes a stand against homophobia, antisemitism, islamophobia, or any other form of discrimination.”
Last week it became clear that Lotfi S. from Amsterdam is responsible for a suicide attack in Fallujah, Iraq. Now a video of him appeared online, wherein he speaks about his so-called martyrs-act. He calls it an effective weapon and calls upon others to follow his example. ‘Don’t stay behind’. In the video, Sultan B. appears next to Lotfi S. He died in a previous suicide attack in Baghdad, Iraq.
Lotfi S. previously appeared in the news demonstrating in the city of The Hague, supporting IS and calling for violent attacks against Jews.
Achraf father Farid has confirmed that his son, Achraf – alias Abu Jihad, has died in an anti-IS bombing. He received photographs of his killed son. The man was trying to get his child back to the Netherlands.
Last November Farid told about his son in the media. About how he used to wear designer clothing and never went to the mosque. But suddenly this changed. He started praying and hang around with ‘men with beards’. Achraf always wanted to work for the police, but suddenly he viewed them with suspicion.
Farid says that official agencies have failed in keeping his son from leaving the country. He asked the doctor to institutionalize him, but Achraf was not considered to be a danger for himself or his surroundings.
Radicalization experts told the father not to be worried, that they kept an eye on Achraf. But on December 29 he was able to fly from Amsterdam to Turkey, even though is passport number was registered.
Last Tuesday about a hundred people joined to reflect on the attacks in Paris. Lody van de Kamp, member of the initiative Salaam-Shalom arranged the meeting. Mayor Eberhard van der Laan held a speech, during which people all held up the peace-sign with their fingers. The Mayor said: “We fight too, but with words. And even though we may be divided, in the first place we’re all inhabitants of Amsterdam.”
Via a Skype connection a rabbi and a member from a mosque in Paris joined the meeting and could see how Muslims and Jews in Amsterdam are in solidarity with the French people. The Rabbi hopes to see more of these initiatives in European cities.
According to deputy prime Minister and Minister of Social Affairs Lodewijk Asscher the meeting is a sign from people who refuse to see each other as enemies. He further stated that the Netherlands remains a country where people are allowed to believe what they want, were they can wear signs of their religion such as a headscarf. And democracy is not to be defended with weapons, but with words and courage. Youth should be protected against those who try to seduce them to participate in a jihad.
In Rotterdam there was a similar meeting between Muslims, Jews and Humanists.
The Municipality of Amsterdam demanded earlier this year that the educational board of the Dutch Islamic Education Foundation (Stichting Islamitisch Onderwijs) should distance itself from a board member who publicly expressed pro-Islamic State (IS) views. After the Municipality had refused a permit to the Islamic Education Foundation for the establishment of a new Islamic high school the organization filed a complaint to the Dutch Court. The Municipality refused to co-operate because a board member expressed views on Facebook in support of the terrorist organization IS, active in Syria and Iraq.
The judge ruled on the demands as being unfounded and unjust on the basis of current Dutch law. The Dutch court also ruled that the Municipality of Amsterdam has to review it’s decisions on the permit within six weeks.
Five imams from Amsterdam are starting a ‘peaceful jihad’, consisting of a website and meetings where youth can ask questions, to prevent them from radicalizing. They say they want to make clear what the correct meaning of jihad is. Not ‘war’, as many people in general and Muslim youth think, but: ‘striving.’
According to Mohammed Ercharrouti, chairman of the Board of Moroccan Mosques in North-Holland’, radicalized youth have weak theological knowledge, which makes them amenable to the ideas of radical organizations.