Occupation of mosque shocks Dutch Muslim community

The Council of Moroccan Mosques of the Netherlands (RMMN) has responded with shock to the occupation of a mosque in construction in the Dutch city of Leiden. Five members of the Dutch extreme right group “Identitair Verzet” (English: Identitary Resistance, named after the French group “Géneration Identitaire”) occupied the mosque in the morning of 7 February showing banners with slogans like “In Leiden victory starts” and “Stop Islam.”

According to the council fear is growing among Dutch Muslim citizens for an increase of agressive attacks on Muslims and mosques. The RMMN has called upon the government to ante up the protection of Muslims and their institutions. In the past ten years one out of three mosques has been the target of the besmearing of blood, pig’s heads on the front portal, and even arson.

“The past months we have witnessed a horrific increase of violent and discriminatory acts against mosques and individual Muslims and Muslimas,” According to the RMMN. In January the council already wrote a pressing letter to the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

Dutch Vice Prime Minister Lodewijk Asscher in a response has said about the act that it is “A malicious act to frighten people in such a way.” Additionally he stated that the Dutch government “would never allow that mosques, churches, synagogues, or any other house of worship become a target of threat, occupation, or destruction. If necessary houses of worship can count on additional protection measures.”

Members of extreme-right group protest on roof of mosque in Leiden

Extremists protest on roof of mosque in Leiden. (Photo: AD.nl/Facebook (Identitair Verzet))
Extremists protest on roof of mosque in Leiden. (Photo: AD.nl/Facebook (Identitair Verzet))

Members of extreme- right Group ‘Identitair Verzet’ [Identitair Resistance] were standing on the roof of de Al Hijra mosque in the city of Leiden. The activists stated that the Netherlands is at war with Salafism and its adherents. And upon this event, more actions will follow, they said. They have called upon activists in the country and Vlaanderen [province in Belgium] to resist themselves against islamization.

The Council of Moroccan Mosques in the Netherlands (RMMN) is shocked by the incident and has reminded the Dutch government they should pay attention to the protection of Muslims and their institutions – the government said they would made this an important matter after the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris.

Imams from Amsterdam start website for youth, against radicalism

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.

Dutch Muslim Groups Offer Protection for Threatened Churches

Following the mention of three Coptic churches – located in Eindhoven, Utrecht and Amsterdam- on a website considered to have links to Al Qaida, Muslim organizations in the Netherlands have denounced the threat. The Dutch Muslim Council, the Council of Moroccan Mosques in the Netherlands and the Federation of Islamic Organizations have offered protection to the churches in a statement in the Telegraaf. “It is up to us to do so because Al-Qaeda is claiming to act in the name of Islam. Christian Copts, us (Muslims), and all Dutch have the same enemy: the terrorists,” the statement said. “We can’t sleep at the idea that Christian Copts may be attacked here, in the Netherlands.”

Dutch muslims targeted in voting campaigns

Various religious and social organizations are addressing the Netherlands’ Muslim population in advance of national elections on June 9, 2010. While some organizations are encouraging active participation in the election, others are urging Muslims not to vote. Radical Islamic group Hizb ut-Tahrir set up a website and handed out flyers at Dutch mosques urging Muslims not to vote, as no candidate provides sufficient support for Muslims while their participation would legitimize the election.

Alternately, the Council of Moroccan Mosques in North Holland is urging Muslim participation in the election.  The Dutch Moroccan Alliance has produced a video and will send representatives into the community to speak Moroccan youth in an attempt to “get out the Moroccan vote.”