Jihad Preached in the As-Sunnah Mosque — Who Knew?

The following video is an exposé by the Dutch public broadcaster NOS about the “extremism” preached at the as-Sunnah Mosque in The Hague.

Actually, the goings-on at as-Sunnah aren’t all that extreme, at least not by my standards. At a rough guess, the mosque would fall roughly at the mean for publicly expressed Islamic ideology. Like the vast majority of mosques — more than 80% of those in the USA — the preachers at as-Sunnah support jihad, the subordination of women, FGM, and application of the sharia. At a more “radical” mosque the imam might tell his congregants (in Arabic), “It’s time to take to the streets and kill the kuffar!” At a more “moderate” one, jihad and the caliphate might be mentioned only occasionally.

The Dutch journalists who produced this documentary, however, must have limited their previous study of Islam to the material aired by their own broadcasting outlet, because they are shocked — shocked! — to learn what actually goes on at the as-Sunnah Mosque.

They’d be well-advised to start reading Jihad Watch on a regular basis. But don’t hold your breath.

Many thanks to C for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling:

Video transcript:

00:08   This is Taheri. You are chairman of the as-Sunnah mosque, is that correct?
00:12   Yes, that’s correct. —I was wondering if your mosque
00:16   ever had contact with Saudi Arabia about funding?
00:19   The secret files published by Nieuwsuur and [newspaper] NRC
00:23   reveal that the as-Sunnah mosque applied for funds from Saudi Arabia,
00:27   and received $350,000 from Kuwait for the distribution of Islamic books.
00:32   Here on the website of a Kuwaiti charity
00:36   we find this translated biography of Muhammad
00:40   and this Dutch translation of the Quran, written and published by as-Sunnah.
00:46   But if we call the mosque to ask if it receives funding from abroad,
00:51   the chairman says: “No! No no no no.”
00:54   Especially after the era of Fawaz Jneid, our previous imam.
01:00   it has been our vision, our goal,
01:05   to fund everything ourselves, and to remain independent.
01:14   What is going on? Why does the mosque deny the foreign donations?
01:19   Are the intelligence services justified in their concern
01:22   about what they call “the forked tongue of as-Sunnah”?
01:25   We have a closer look at the mosque’s message.
01:28   We read the books it publishes and visit lectures.
01:31   Online activities play an important role.
01:34   As-Sunnah records its own sermons
01:37   and publishes them on its website.
01:40   It reaches a lot of young people this way.
01:43   We listen to these sermons, and translate them when necessary.
01:47   We discover some disturbing passages.
01:50   We show them to the umbrella organisation for Moroccan mosques, and to a theologian.
01:55   The Quran teaches us that the original proper place for a wife is the house.
02:03   This is one of the rights of the husband. If a woman
02:07   wants to leave the house, she informs her husband,
02:10   and she asks his permission. Does he approve or not?
02:13   The mosque also offers a basic course in Islam for young people.
02:18   The course is not public. Because we want to find out what message the mosque broadcasts
02:25   out of public view, we register under an assumed name.
02:29   What we hear is incitement to commit a punishable offense.
02:32   As we have stated, circumcision is obligatory for men
02:35   and recommended for women.
02:38   It is optional for women.
02:41   The wisdom behind this is that the penis is cleansed
02:46   of the impurities present on the foreskin
02:50   and in the case of women, it reduces their urges.
02:56   I’m… I have to recover after seeing this.
03:03   I really didn’t know this. I thought in the Netherlands we were past this.
03:08   For a long time. So I don’t get it, I also can’t imagine that people listen to this.
03:15   I’m really surprised.
03:18   that this is being reproduced in the Netherlands.
03:21   It’s shocking that an imam, as a figure of authority, says this is recommended,
03:28   and says that women are possessions
03:32   who have to obey their husbands. This gives men license to oppress their wives.
03:44   Brothers, use your brain. Wahhabism has been around for three centuries.
03:47   It is the true faith that prophet Muhammad preached.
03:55   This imam in the mosque in the Hague apparently is inspired by Wahhabism,
04:00   Saudi Arabia’s state religion.
04:03   It is a fundamentalist version of Islam
04:06   which is intolerant of other faiths.
04:09   And we hear this intolerance now also in the Hague,
04:12   in this sermon from 2015, and now available on as Sunnah’s website
04:18   under the heading “education”. The prophet said: your predecessors were fanatics.
04:26   Who are they? The Jews and Christians.
04:31   So they are the fanatics and extremists.
04:38   I want to say something about the Shiites.
04:43   What did they do in the south of the Lebanon?
04:48   Did they not found an Iranian state within the Lebanese state?
04:53   Lebanon suffers from this virus which is worse than Ebola.
04:56   Also, Saudi Arabia’s medieval punishments are mentioned in as-Sunnah’s books,
05:00   online lectures and sermons.
05:03   They apply to apostates and adulterers.
05:07   The woman or man who is married, and commits adultery:
05:15   The punishment is death.
05:21   A person who is not married and commits zina [adultery],
05:24   according to Islamic criminal law, this person deserves
05:29   to receive 100 lashes of the whip.
05:33   And the person who is married and commits zina
05:36   deserves to be stoned to death.
05:40   You might think: Whoa,
05:43   did he just say that, on stage, in the open? —Of course. First,
05:47   these are the laws of Allah and I’m not ashamed of them.
05:50   Second, these laws, these punishments,
05:54   have a common goal.
05:57   It causes fear in the hearts of the people.
06:04   While recommending these corporal punishments, they come with a caveat.
06:09   This of course in an Islamic country, by an Islamic judge.
06:19   What do you think when you hear this? —This is heavy stuff,
06:23   to be honest. I understand the rule: don’t commit adultery
06:29   That I understand. But he also says the death penalty applies,
06:35   and adds that this only applies in Islamic countries.
06:39   But he makes clear what the level of punishment should be.
06:44   and nobody wants to see, when adultery is committed, that somebody goes and kills someone.
06:56   They add the disclaimer that these punishments apply in Islamic countries,
07:00   and the sentence has to be pronounced by an Islamic judge.
07:04   Yes, but what is an Islamic country? What does that mean?
07:16   Of the large number of Islamic countries, only a few apply this.
07:25   Then Allah says “whip them 80 times”.
07:32   From an Islamic viewpoint, they can be whipped 80 times.
07:38   If you say such things to young people too many times, then
07:41   what you’re saying is, in an ideal country, an ideal society,
07:45   sharia law is applied.
07:49   The audience will conclude the Netherlands is not such an ideal society,
07:55   because corporal punishment does not exist here,
07:58   so you should really flee to a country where it is applied.
08:04   This leads to alienation, or to people who think maybe they should leave.
08:08   In extreme cases, this has resulted in people leaving for Syria.
08:20   A radical message against other faiths, and glorification of an Islamic state.
08:27   But does this rhetoric lead to radicalisation and terrorism? This has been debated for years.
08:32   The Netherlands has freedom of religion and freedom of speech.
08:36   These concepts are not set in stone, but the line is drawn at calls to violence.
08:39   It’s about crossing the line between extreme language and extreme deeds.
08:45   and in the case of as-Sunnah, this line seems to have been blurred.
08:55   In 2017 the Hague got a new mayor.
08:59   She suddenly receives a worrying message from the intelligence service.
09:03   The as-Sunnah mosque is allegedly funded by a notorious organisation.
09:09   It is the Revival of Islamic Heritage Society (RIHS).
09:19   RIHS claims to be a Kuwaiti charity organisation
09:24   but is under suspicion of providing funds to al-Qaeda.
09:28   It is alleged that as-Sunnah bought this office block with RIHS money,
09:32   close to the mosque, for €2 million.
09:36   As-Sunnah wants to start a large educational centre for children of all ages here.
09:42   The purchase appears to be a financial transaction like any other,
09:47   but documents show a car company bought it first and sold it to as-Sunnah within thirty minutes.
09:59   What is behind this? And why did the city council have to hear this from the intelligence service?
10:05   Earlier this week, Nieuwsuur and NRC [newspaper] published secret lists
10:08   of mosques that request funds from Kuwait.
10:12   These lists originate from the Kuwaiti embassy.
10:15   Kuwait secretly provides the Dutch governments with these lists.
10:21   But apparently the link between as-Sunnah and the RIHS was too secret,
10:27   too secret even for the secret lists. Because they don’t mention it.
10:32   According to the intelligence service, the RIHS sends money to the Hague.
10:36   We also see many leading RIHS figures appear around the mosque.
10:42   Here we see the Kuwaiti RIHS coordinator al-Fassi
10:45   in front of the recently acquired educational facility.
10:48   And here we see him preach in the as-Sunnah mosque.
10:51   And these are the Kuwaiti RIHS leaders Athman Abdelkader and Othman al-Khamees,
10:57   also popular speakers in the mosque.
11:02   But what kind of organisation is RIHS?
11:06   We ask researcher Zoltan Pall, who knows the organisation well and just wrote a book about it.
11:11   He is currently doing research in Cambodia, where RIHS strongly influences the Muslim minority.
11:17   We interview him over Skype.
12:01   RIHS allegedly not only supports Salafism, but also terrorism.
12:08   They were on the US sanctions list for years because they funded al-Qaeda.
12:14   Some of her foreign franchises are still on the list.
12:18   They also supported several jihadi groups in the early phase of the Syrian conflict.
12:46   RIHS also financed the jihadi groups Ahrar al-Sham and Jaysh al-Islam,
12:53   the latter notorious for using prisoners as human shields, by driving them around in cages.
13:00   RIHS is not only involved with the conflict in Syria,
13:03   but also with this mosque in the Hague.
13:06   And RIHS sends preachers to our country.
13:09   When we translate a few of their sermons, we hear the following:
13:13   What the Sunni are now doing on their satellite networks
13:17   is to reveal the Shia’s true face and expose them.
13:25   Now people know how ugly their ideology is.
13:29   This is RIHS preacher Othman al-Khamees, in the mosque in the Hague.
13:35   It’s December 2013, and the Syrian conflict is already intense.
13:40   A following year, a record number of Dutch young people were to travel to Syria.
13:46   Visitors to the mosque ask Khamees about this.
13:50   Here, he reads such a question and answers it.
13:53   In Syria, Sunni and Shia are fighting each other. Is this true jihad?
13:59   Or is it not true jihad because Muslims are fighting Muslims?
14:03   The Alawites are not real Muslims; they’re unbelievers.
14:09   They have nothing to do with Islam. So it’s considered jihad to fight them.
14:14   The Shia also consider the Alawites to be unbelievers,
14:19   as they do the Shia. But both have the same enemy: the Sunni.
14:25   It’s all the same, all the same. They’re all unbelievers, as you stated before.
14:33   They belong together and fight the Muslims.
14:39   That’s why the fight in Syria is true jihad.
14:43   What do you think of such sermons? —It’s incitement to violence against Shia.
14:50   Very worrying. He legitimizes violence, he encourages it,
14:54   he emphasizes it’s justified, in his opinion.
14:57   So he’s calling for terrorism.
15:03   If you say that violent struggle in Syria against those of different faiths,
15:12   that this is the correct jihad, then you’re saying you should commit terrorist acts.
15:17   You’re really promoting jihadism; that’s what it boils down to: taking matters into your own hands
15:22   and personally attacking them, that’s what you’re promoting.
15:32   For a slave, you don’t need witnesses. She’s your possession, not your wife.
15:39   You own her. According to the Quran, you have to
15:43   cover your private parts, except in the presence of your wife or [female] slave.
15:46   A slave is your possession, not your wife. If you bought or captured her.
15:52   then you own her. Then you don’t have to marry her.
15:56   This is interesting, in the context of the conflict in Syria and Iraq.
16:00   Because we know IS has, on a large scale,
16:05   enslaved women. Women whom they capture and then sell
16:11   to their supporters, or whom the fighters capture for themselves on the battlefield
16:16   and keep as sex slaves, which has great appeal,
16:21   is at least part of the reason for many people to join the fight there.
16:25   Hey you, where is my Yezidi girl?
16:28   Who wants to sell his slave? I’ll buy her.
16:33   This sermon is from 2013. Does this make a difference?
16:37   In 2013, jihadi groups were already active in Syria, in Iraq
16:42   and he seems to, implicitly, voice his support for them.
16:47   That these groups should win, and continue the fight
16:51   against the Shia. One should not forget that especially this Shia, especially in Iraq,
16:57   has been the target of violence by al-Qaeda in Iraq, the predecessor of IS.
17:04   In this context, it’s clear that he strongly supports jihadist terrorist organisations.
17:18   The sermon supporting jihad against Shia can still be found on as-Sunnah’s YouTube channel.
17:24   and has over 100,000 views.
17:28   After hearing this, what is your impression, has the mosque changed since Fawaz Jneid left?
17:36   Hearing the message, I’d say no.
17:39   Some of it is frankly shocking.
17:42   At the time, the mosque received bad press after
17:46   a sermon wishing death on Theo van Gogh and Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
17:50   and now again we see a preacher who, maybe in a more subtle way,
17:55   still implicitly approves of, incites, violence against those of different faiths.
18:04   Several parties in parliament worry about the ties between as-Sunnah and the Kuwaiti sponsor.
18:10   The PVV is calling for a debate.
18:13   And here in the studio the mayor of the Hague, Pauline Krikke, welcome.
18:17   What is your first reaction?
18:21   I think some of the statements are shocking, especially where it concerns educational material.
18:26   When I hear what’s being said about FGM, the worst kind of maiming for a woman,
18:32   that it’s called a remedy against female lust, I find that disgusting.
18:38   It happens a few kilometers from the Hague’s city hall. —Exactly.
18:41   Your predecessor, Jozias van Aartsen, did not want to react today;
18:45   he made a statement in NRC instead.
18:48   Even after our findings he remains of the opinion that as-Sunnah contributes to Dutch society,
18:55   and that the mosque has improved since Fawaz Jneid left. —Are you talking about the same mosque?
19:02   I know Jozias as a very good mayor, he’s a cherished colleague.
19:10   I’m not here to review Jozias’ track record as mayor.
19:15   You don’t have to review his track record, but his statement,
19:20   “this mosque makes a positive contribution to the Netherlands.”
19:23   I am now the mayor, and I look at the situation at as-Sunnah, and also other mosques.
19:32   You are clearly of a different opinion. The as-Sunnah mosque
19:35   receives thousands in subsidies from the city every year;
19:38   we’re talking several thousands for organizing NYE and cleaning the street,
19:50   a mosque that teaches online that adulterers should be stoned.
19:54   Why do they receive thousands per year?
20:02   We shouldn’t mix things up. That money for NYE is for food and drinks
20:11   and for a 25 EU gift certificate for people who patrol the streets.
20:18   The same goes for the neighborhood centers and gyms and everybody who helps to keep the peace.
20:26   Why these preachers? You could decide on principle to tell them to get their money from Kuwait?
20:31   As a politician sometimes you face a dilemma.
20:35   Because on the one hand the as-Sunnah mosque helps out during NYE and helps keep the peace
20:43   On the other hand, there’s a different side to the mosque.
20:47   Our policy should be constantly evaluated.
20:53   It would be easy if it were always clear what is evil and what is good.
20:58   As a politician, sometimes you have to make choices.
21:02   Of course. But the video showed some things very clearly.
21:05   The intelligence service warned you last year about the mosque’s funding.
21:10   which I don’t expect you to confirm, but what have you done since to deal with this problem?
21:18   At the time we were dealing with a similar situation, with Fawaz Jneid’s bookshop
21:24   which we found to be a[n illegal] mosque, which led us to investigate as-Sunnah.
21:34   The office block was never licensed to be used as a school.
21:43   We told them they couldn’t start a school a this location, so we intervened.
21:53   I’m sure you’d like to intervene more. What are you able to do, and what can’t you do?
22:01   What complicates matters is that the information we now have about foreign funding
22:12   can’t be used. The national government gives such information and says the ball is in your court,
22:19   but we can’t do much, because it’s classified information.
22:22   I’d like to see a law in which our local impressions, for example,
22:29   are [Muslim] women in the street told to dress more modestly?
22:36   For example, are many foreign preachers invited? That such signals are combined
22:44   with the data about international funding, and other intelligence that the services have.
22:53   I’d like a law that allows the minister to, for example, freeze assets.
23:04   And, to be clear, I’m not going after Islam, this concerns the disruptive messages
23:11   that are injected in our society, that we deal with those,
23:15   and that we defend our way of life.

2 thoughts on “Jihad Preached in the As-Sunnah Mosque — Who Knew?

  1. “I’m shocked! Shocked! That female genital mutilation is being preached in the Netherlands.” It is about as convincing as Claude Rains in Casablanca.

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