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.

Many Muslims want to leave due to Wilders

The rise in support for anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders means many Dutch Muslims are considering emigrating, according to a poll for NCRV tv. While 75% of Dutch Muslims said they still feel at home in the Netherlands, 57% say they feel less welcome, the poll shows, according to the Telegraaf. And 51% are thinking more often about leaving. In addition, 75% feel they are judged more negatively since the rise of Wilders and four out of 10 say they are more often discriminated against.

Nevertheless, 18% say Wilders does make some good points, the Telegraaf says.

The Volkskrant carries an interview with Rotterdam city council executive Hamit Karakus who warns that well-educated young Muslims are increasingly asking themselves if they have a future in Holland.

‘My children don’t understand it,’ he told the paper. ‘You cannot say they do not speak Dutch, do not understand the habits and culture, and that they are not well-educated. But they still have the feeling that they are not accepted,’ he said. The rise of Wilders’ PVV party, which emerged as the biggest in Rotterdam after the European elections, means that a growing group of second and third generation immigrants do not feel welcome and a small but growing group are turning to radical Islam, he said.