Dutch jihadis from Arnhem captured in Turkey

The Dutch Public Prosecutor announced that two men from the Dutch city of Arnhem presumably traveling to the battle zones of Syria of Iraq were captured in Turkey. The pair had gone missing for an extended period of time.

They belong to a group that is being surveilled on account of their supposed radicalization. Nothing was made known about their identity. In the interest of the investigation the Public Prosecutor has announced it will not elaborate on the exact place or circumstances of the arrest. From the city of Arnhem a considerable number of people have already set out for travel.

One of the arrested people is Abdelkarim el A. (29) also known as Muhajiri Shaam. He was assumed to have died in August in the Syrian city of Aleppo. He appeared in the media last year with a video message from Syria in which he called upon Muslims to carry out ‘a firm and strong act’ against the Dutch government if need be because it is supporting America.

His brother Youssef el A. had to appear in front of a judge recently in the Dutch city of Rotterdam because he was supposed to have transferred money to Abdelkarim. According to the Arnhem mayor Herman Kaiser the amount of jihadis traveling from his municipality has been stable over the past months.

Controversial benefit event for Muslims in Birma cancelled due to alleged hate preacher

The Dutch Muslim foundation Rohamaa which organizes humanitary projects in Muslim countries such is Birma and Syria has cancelled a controversial benefit event in the Dutch municipality of Rijswijk. The event was discredited become alleged “hate imams” would speak at the event. According to the municipality of Rijswijk “the foundation has said that the charitable goals of the meeting – because of current happenings and negative media coverage – has been drawn into the background.” The municipality has called the organization’s canceling the event “a very brave decision.”

The Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Bert Koenders has retracted the visas of the three imams that were to preach at the event. Rohamaa has reacted “baffled” by this decision. “The retraction was executed on the bases of information more detailed information by the NVTC [National Coordination of Counter-Terrorist Measures and Security, ed.] and is fitting in the context of the action program jihadims,” the minister said in a reaction.

The total of seven speakers that were invited to the program had background from Egypt, Kuwait, Jordan, Nigeria, and Belgium. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not want to extrapolate on the identity of the speakers for whom the visas were retracted.

Dutch Muslim organization wants ban on demonstration Pro-Patria

The Contact Organization for Muslims and Government (CMO) has emphatically requested the Mayor of the Dutch city of Gouda Milo Schoenmaker to forbid a demonstration by the extreme right organization Pro Patria (English: For the Fatherland). The CMO stated it has received many phone calls by concerned Muslims. Spokesperson Yassin Elforkani said a counter-demonstration was also planned.

Mayor Milo Schoenmaker has decided to allow the Pro Patria demonstration. The extreme right organization stated it is combating Muslim extremist through these demonstrations.

“After the announcement that the demonstration will take place we received a lot of phone calls from Muslims who fear an escalation will take place. I’ve already seen a flyer with a call for a counter-demonstration,” Elforkani said. “It might also be that the action group Identitair Verzet (English: Indentitary Resistance) will take part in the demonstration. The activists belonging to this extreme right group occupied a Dutch mosque earlier this month (http://www.volkskrant.nl/binnenland/moslimorganisaties-bang-na-bezette-moskee-leiden~a3847209/).

“We are very much for the freedom of expression but we are worries about the societal tensions. Therefore we ask the Mayor to take his responsibility,” the spokesperson said. The municipality has announced it is waiting for an official request by the CMO.

Why citizens of Gouda don’t want a ‘mega mosque’

Citizens in the neighbourhood where this so-called ‘mega mosque’ is planned being build are not happy with this plan.

Edward Uittenbroek is one of the initiators of ‘Gouda Noord zoals het Hoort’ [‘Gouda North, how it should be’] and is worried about a dense Islamic concentration in the neighbourhood. Because this mosque ought not only to be a mosque but an Islamic centre as well, providing space for 1500 visitors.
Besides that, more con’s are being heard. The mosque, if its build, will share its location with institutions for autistic and handicapped persons. People are questioning if it’s a good idea that a busy Islamic centre will share its location with institution where a calm environment is preferred.

The mosque will be build on a old barrack site and some people are afraid that an underground bunker will be used by returnees from Syria. The municipality however denies that such a bunker even exists.

Other critiques or fears are: a decline in the value of the houses in this area, a suspicious funding of this mosque (by international Salafi networks), possible traffic problems and ‘hate preaches’.

Dutch Political Party: “Walking time bombs” should report themselves

Dutch political party CDA (Christian Democratic Appel) wants to make it mandatory for radicalized Muslims, who cannot be imprisoned, to report themselves with the municipality of their town. This, so the authorities know where they are.

According CDA leader Sybrand Buma returnees from Syria and Iraq should be jailed upon their return. But there is also a group of radicalized Muslims from whom it is not known if they have been to Syria or Iraq. For those people it should be mandatory to report themselves with the authorities. Radicalized Muslims should also get counseling to deal with possible trauma’s.

‘Van Aartsen wants compulsory de-radicalization jihadi’s.’

Municipalities experience difficulties dealing with people returning from Syria and them preventing from going. Jozias van Aartsen, mayor in the city of the Hague writes that municipalities lack the knowledge to assess the risk a returnee poses. And they have no access to means to enforce measurements upon people who refuse their ‘support.’

Van Aartsen is pleading for a compulsory screening to check if someone poses a danger. If not so, then he is allowed to live in a municipality and can get support there.

Municipalities are pleading for a more central organization of the support for jihadis. Minister of Justice, Opstelten is considering dealing with the returnees in a prison where recidivists are treated now.

Leader of Christian Democratic Appel (CDA) Van Haersma Buma calls the returnees ‘ticking time-bombs.’ According to him it’s worrying that there is this image of the country having the issue under control, when mayors at the same time have no idea what to do.

Parties like Democrats 66 (D66), People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) and Party of the Labor (PvdA) also plead for support from the state for municipalities. However according PvdA municipalities should be able to provide shelter to the returnees themselves, to make reintegration easier.

Near completion of new mega mosque “De Westermoskee” in Amsterdam

The building of the Netherland’s largest mega mosque (800 square meter and room for 1700 worshippers) has sparked some controversy over the last two decennia of its establishment. For years the building process was frustrated by several conflicts between the initiating Islamic foundation and the municipality of Amsterdam and housing cooperatives. Despite these obstacles the mega mosque is planned to be ready for interior design and decoration by the end of November.
The mosque board is already in communication with artists from Turkey for the realization of classical Islamic calligraphy in the mosque’s interior. A salient feature of the mosque will be the incorporation of indigenous influences from the artistic style and local culture of Amsterdam on ceilings and walls as well as in the tapestry. According to the mosque board the “Westermoskee” was build with the intention of opening up to not just practicing Muslims but also for the general public. The mosque intents to organize guided tours, expositions, and seminars on Islam. It also intends to involve neighborhood inhabitants in the development of social activity programs.

Prayer, Culture, meetings all within the glass house of Islam

We begin with a five-story building (possibly six), with the mosque or prayer hall on the ground floor, a tea room on the second, a large Islamic bookstore with books in more than ten languages ​on the third, a museum of Islamic culture and cultural center on the fourth and offices and international centers on the fifth. The space will be six thousand square meters, all in glass, steel and stone, as proposed by the architectural designers (who remain anonymous).

 

And no minaret, to avoid changing the profile of the waterfront in Darsena, the only building still to be finalized is the House of Islamic Culture. Or rather, the House of Peace, as it might be called.

 

Designs were directed by Alfredo Maiolese, a Genovese Muslim and president of the League of European Muslims who helped to create the possible home of the Islamic culture. These are the same designs that will be presented next week in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, for the Islamic Development Bank. This is the bank that maintains an international Muslim presence abroad, likely funded by the governments of Kuwait and Qatar, and could make available the 12-15 million euro needed to buy the building and renovate it.

 

And Genoa? Available. “If indeed there is a need then doors are open to all” says Stefano Bernini, Deputy Mayor and Councilor for Urban Planning “If Maiolese and the European Muslim League will be able to find the resources, the municipality would support the project including town planning procedures and helping to convince the ‘neighbors’ who have doubts that this is a major accomplishment, which would be a great for the entire city.”

 

Bernini explains that the center would be a point of reference for the thousands of Muslims, but it could also be appealing as a cultural point of attraction for cruise passengers. And the claim that this may jeopardize security? “If there is a place that is controlled, it is the port area” replies Bernini “not to mention it is where the state police headquarter is.”

 

“In every home there are those that pray but this does not mean that every home is a mosque,” says Maiolese , which he discusses is the point of the “Moussala” on the ground floor, a place of prayer, it is more than a “majid,” meaning mosque. The space could accommodate between 5 and 600 people, and it would be the only space exclusively for Muslims. The rest of the building, however, will be welcome to everyone.

 

“The tea room will express welcome by offering Arab tea and cakes” explains Maiolese “but in the 240 square meter space we will also sell cakes and tea from the entire Arab world, which will help people better understand different food cultures” Upstairs will hold 750 square meters of Islamic books. Books will be in Italian, English, Arabic, and also French, Albanian, Urdu, Persian, Bengali, this will be a store for the visitors of the Museum of Islamic Culture,

 

Another 2,400 square meters will host works of art, manuscripts, and also cultural events. “We have already established contacts with universities in Medina, and also Qatar and others, in order to have works exhibited” says Maiolese. Finally, going even higher, there will be 1,230 square meters of diplomatic and commercial offices.”

De Corato asks Pisapia to respond to accusations about Imam al Bustanji

“We are still waiting for Pisapia to speak about the participation of the party in celebrations for the end of Ramadan; we want a convincing explanation as to why the City has participated in the celebration despite the fact that the guest of honor was the Imam Al Bustanji, who is known for his interview on Hamas satellite TV in which he revealed that he met a young 10 year old in Gaza and believes they should know about jihad and martyrdom” said Riccardo De Corato (from the Brothers of Italy), Vice-Chairman of the City Council of Milan.

Clarifications from Pisapia are not only demanded by the opposition, but also by the Jewish community which has spoken up about the error of the municipality. “Even the mayor, Gabbai, a member of the majority, should give an explanation. Yet all is silent, not a word which is shameful” explained De Corato.

“This comes after the disgrace of a visa denied to Limonta and his entire family which Pisapia said he would clear but then did nothing. Earlier still, there was the U.S. consulate’s designation of Milan as a city that is unsafe and dangerous and now, in addition to all of these missteps, the City celebrates with an imam who is a friend of Hamas. This is the image that Milan is giving abroad: a city collaborating with extremists.”

Pineda de Mar buys a place to set a mosque to the Muslim community

31 July 2013

 

The municipality of Pineda de Mar (Maresme) has bought a place to set in a civic center for the Muslim community[1].
Jordi Masnou, Town Planning, has argued that the goal is “to provide a suitable place to the entities and associations to develop all kinds of activities.”
For more than half a year that the City and the Muslim community have been searching for a site in the industrial park suitable to be an Islamic worship center, once discarded the option of moving the site to a warehouse in the district of Les Creus due to the neighborhood’s opposition.


[1] According to the Organic Law of Religious Freedom  “Ley Orgánica de Libertad Religiosa (7/1980); autonomous regions have full legislative powers in what concerns urban planning and funding. Therefore specific construction and legality of each of the mosques or places of worship will depend on the specific legal implementation by regional and local administrations.