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 ‘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.
Dutch Vice-Prime Minister Lodewijk Asscher and Minister of Security and Justice Ivo Opstelten conducted a meeting on 9 January with representatives from various Muslim communities. The Contact Organization for Muslims and State (CMO), the Council of Dutch Moroccan Mosques (RMMN), the Co-determination Organization of Turks (IOT), and the Dutch Corporation for Refugees (VON) have attended the meeting. The immediate cause of the meeting was the posed threat to Dutch mosques, which has become even more urgent due to current developments.
The attack in France led to feelings of abhorrence and dismay. This was widely expressed during the meeting. There was mutual appreciation of the warm responses and expressions of solidarity from society. However at the same time concern was expressed over the rising tensions caused by the Paris assault, the incidents in Sweden and the anti-Islam demonstrations in surrounding countries.
Due to the increase of incidents against mosques in the Netherlands an appeal was made for an increased attention for Muslim hatred. Concrete agreements were made to improve the registration of acts of Muslim hatred. The Dutch cabinet has expressed their commitment to vigilantly observe the security conditions and, of necessary, take additional protection measures.
Several Muslim organizations in the Netherlands, including the Council of Dutch Moroccan Mosques (RMMN), the Islamic Foundation of the Netherlands (ISN)
and Milli Gorus, are asking Muslims to boycott the purchase of Israeli dates during Ramadan. The boycott is the response to the late May Israeli attack on an aid convoy
for Palestinians, in which nine activists were killed and several people (including two Dutch) wounded. The boycott is to be launched after prayers on Friday July 9, one
month before the start of Ramadan.