The Growth of Salafism in the Netherlands

Once again, Dutch politicians and the media are shocked — shocked, I tell you! — at the increasing level of Salafist ideology in the Netherlands.

The video below features Ahmed Marcouch, the mayor of Arnhem, whom we’ve seen before on several occasions. He’s a “moderate” if there ever was one, but his view of what Islam should be doesn’t seem to gain any traction among Muslims in the Low Countries.

Mr. Marcouch plainly views Salafist “extremism” as an aberration of Islam. If only I could, I’d tell him that Islamic “extremism” is what develops when Muslims pay close attention to their scriptures and attempt to follow them to the letter. However, I’m sure he already knows that — he’s obviously no fool. In any case, the Salafists will continue to sprout like mushrooms, regardless of what he says.

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

Video transcript:

00:04   Girls and boys are not allowed to make eye contact.
00:07   Make sure you don’t wear clothes of the infidel,
00:10   and Allah abhors homosexuality.
00:13   There is a lot of indignation about the teaching materials used in Islamic primary schools
00:16   in the Netherlands, which are government-funded. So much so that VVD and the Labor party
00:22   propose to amend Article 23 [which guarantees freedom of religion].
00:27   [Legal babble]
00:31   This is article 23, freedom of education. It has existed for a hundred years.
00:36   A majority of parties are seriously considering making adjustments.
00:39   We want to add to article 23 the duty to offer all children the same opportunities,
00:44   which now seems necessary. —Look, we aren’t here because we like changing laws;
00:48   we are here because, if things happen in society that go against our fundamental values,
00:54   if you pump this poison into the educational system, poison that is
00:59   increasing inequality, hating gays, that is wrong on a fundamental level.
01:04   If that is present in our current system,
01:07   and we can improve things by adjusting laws, we should do it.
01:11   Whatever school the children are in, it doesn’t matter, religious or not,
01:15   that they learn democratic citizenship, that they learn to respect human rights.
01:21   That we leave that discussion behind us.
01:24   But is an adjustment of the constitution a solution
01:27   for what is currently taught at Islamic primary schools?
01:30   If it has to be done through article 23, this will take a long time, so I hope there’s another way.
01:34   What other way? —Well, for example, bolstering the inspectorate [of education].
01:37   The inspectorate sees what is happening, but doesn’t act.
01:41   Well, is that because they can’t or because they don’t want to?
01:44   The inspectorate now says they don’t see anything going against our fundamental values.
01:48   Well, I think that’s very wrong, I’m tempted to say: just abolish the whole organization, then.
01:51   I read in your wonderful report that the inspectorate saw it
01:56   and decided not to do anything, that they can’t,
01:59   that they don’t want to comment on these kinds of individual [educational] methods.
02:03   This is very bad. Minister Slob says today that the inspectorate
02:06   has to be more alert when it comes to primary schools,
02:09   and that the inspectorate will look into this situation.
02:14   Now joining us is Ahmed Marcouch, mayor of Arnhem.
02:17   And you’ve been warning for years about the dangers of Salafists.
02:20   and [argue] for a ban Salafist organizations. Welcome.
02:24   Given the reactions from government: adjust article 23;
02:28   the inspectorate should act; what do you say to that?
02:31   Well, I would say: minister, summon the mother organisation.
02:36   and make clear this is not acceptable, these are disgusting texts. But —
02:42   it’s of course… it’s fine that there’s a debate about article 23, there has been for a long time,
02:48   but I think the danger is really in those Salafist organisations and those Salafist schools
02:55   that infect our children with a radical ideology
03:00   that turns them into a danger for public order and security.
03:05   We have many youngsters and children in our cities and neighborhoods.
03:10   who are radicalized; some of them travelled [to Syria] and returned.
03:13   And you’re saying it starts there [at schools]? —It starts there.
03:16   And that is the big problem, the pressing danger.
03:20   It’s fine that article 23 is debated, which will take a long time.
03:24   Our research initially focused on those Salafist weekend schools;
03:27   that’s where we found the really violent texts.
03:30   the hatred for Dutch society. Let’s look back on what we found there.
03:36   This week, research by Nieuwsuur and [the newspaper] NRC showed that children are taught
03:40   in Salafist weekend schools to turn their back to people of other faiths.
03:46   It is a duty for every Muslim to detest infidels.
03:54   You can’t love murderers, you can’t love thieves.
03:58   Through exercises and multiple-choice exams, children learn to identify groups of people
04:03   as infidels, hypocrites and enemies, and they also learn the punishments those people deserve.
04:10   This book from the al-Tawheed mosque contains a question about the sentencing
04:14   of somebody who denies one of the pillars of Islam.
04:18   The answer in the book: he has to be put to death, because he is an infidel.
04:23   And in this educational material we read: what is the punishment for the sorcerer?
04:27   Children have to choose: a) whipping
04:30   b) stoning, or c) kill with a sword.
04:33   The last answer is correct, according to preceding verses.
04:37   Teachers also call on youths to leave the godless Netherlands for an Islamic country,
04:43   and glorify the sharia.
04:46   If you steal, your hand is chopped off! —The punishment for zina [adultery] was what?
04:50   Whipping. —Whipping… Or? …Stoning.
04:53   If he were murtad [heretic], then the death penalty would be applied.
04:59   Shocked reactions follow. From experts.
05:02   I find this to be contrary to the basic principles of Dutch law.
05:09   And also from the Hague [politics]. —This is the rot that eats away at a peaceful society.
05:14   But also the Moroccan-Dutch Muslim community rejects these ideas.
05:18   How this is explained… you don’t want to live with people of other faiths.
05:23   That is child abuse.
05:27   The moment my child received education like this at school, doesn’t matter where,
05:34   I would take my child out of that school. We are increasingly worried about
05:38   the growth of Salafism, especially in education.
05:42   All those sermons, and their [educational] method, has led to radicalisation,
05:50   people migrating to Syria, etc., etc., etc.
05:56   What is your opinion on this? —This doesn’t surprise me. We’ve seen this practice for years.
06:15   Since the mid-’80s, things like this have been taught to youngsters and children.
06:23   And this has led to the fact that youths, at the moment
06:27   they saw opportunities to implement this theory, this…
06:31   these lessons and training, to apply them in practice,
06:38   they did. This ideology led Mohammed B. [Bouyeri] to kill Theo van Gogh.
06:45   This ideology led youth to migrate to Syria to join ISIS. Because this is…
06:51   you’re not supposed to be here. You’re not allowed to be here,
06:55   because this is the land of the kuffar.
06:59   Yes. You say you’re not surprised, you know that world.
07:02   You were once receptive to Salafism.
07:07   If you consider that there are youngsters, children,
07:12   really young children who are taught these lessons,
07:17   maybe 9, 10 years old, what does that do to a child? Looking back on your own personal history.
07:25   Well, you accept it. It is THE truth. And as you grow older,
07:29   and your adrenaline [testosterone?] increases, you become more independent,
07:33   you see that youngsters of 12, 13 years old think: “I have to move to that Islamic country,”
07:41   or “I have to join a jihadist group.” This is the gateway to violent jihad.
07:50   And this type of idea, this type of ideological education,
07:55   makes youth think, “I have to do something.”
08:00   I can’t just keep listening and talking, I have to act. —Yes.
08:05   You see it. You know the danger. You’ve been sounding the alarm
08:08   for a long time; it goes back to 2004,
08:11   that you started. How is it possible that you say you’re not shocked, you know this.
08:16   Or maybe you’re shocked but not surprised. —But that there are so many
08:20   shocked and surprised reactions coming from politics?
08:24   Well. that’s a very good thing. It would be bizarre if this doesn’t make you…
08:32   But it’s not new. —It’s not new. What we need from government is the will to act.
08:38   We really have to move to ban these Salafist organizations.
08:44   We can’t minimize it by saying we also have a Bible Belt,
08:48   or we also have the Orthodox reformed community.
08:54   That’s a false analogy, is what you’re saying? —Absolutely.
08:59   We have these schools, this ideology, these preachers
09:03   who spread their poison among these children.
09:07   We have families, in my city, Arnhem, that were destroyed,
09:11   because they lost a son or daughter to the battle they were called to.
09:18   So also within the Muslim community it does a lot of damage, we also saw this in our report.
09:24   Let’s have a look at your own struggle against Salafism, which started in 2004. Have a look.
09:34   For God’s sake, the people who devote themselves to another Islam, and threaten to
09:42   drag us along with them to their twisted ideas and delusions, let us stop them.
09:50   You can see more and more youngsters who fall under the spell of Salafism.
09:55   I’m especially worried because I think that once young people get caught up in that movement,
10:03   let’s say, the rest of their lives becomes very difficult.
10:06   It is very hard to live in modernity as a Salafist young person.
10:13   [debate from 2008] This is the first time I meet Mr. Fawaz in person. I was
10:33   more or less overruled by a fatwa from Mr. Fawaz,
10:46   a website on which he states that I am a munafiq, which means hypocrite.
10:54   In Dutch that may sound harmless, but religiously and theologically it is a serious allegation.
11:00   I ask you: why do you ask the Muslims to take a stand against what you call “radical Muslims”?
11:15   You have insulted the Muslims. Who decides who is radical?
11:20   I consider you one of the radical imams in our society. And you make radical statements.
11:25   I am a scholar!
11:32   The point is, as far as I’m concerned, that you are very much aware of your position.
11:36   and that you spread hate among young people and call them to violence this way.
11:40   That is my grievance against you.
11:43   [Nieuwsuur, 2013] It’s a small step from fundamentalism to extremism,
11:48   up to subscribing to a violent idea.
11:54   Salafist organizations, Speaker, I am talking to the minister,
11:57   reject democracy and the rule of law.
12:00   They reject our democracy and rule of law.
12:04   A remarkable clip, you say, “I’m branded a hypocrite.”
12:08   To the average Dutch citizen this may not sound like a serious qualification.
12:14   You say on the contrary, it is serious. We encounter those terms in the booklets as well.
12:19   Sanctimonious hypocrite, sorcerers.
12:23   What is behind these words; why are these words used?
12:27   These are, ideologically, within Salafism, very strong words, also religiously.
12:33   The moment you brand somebody as al-munafiq, hypocrite,
12:38   as-saahir, sorceror, heretic, umm… or kaffir,
12:43   then, within the ideology, there’s a sanction associated with that qualification.
12:48   And then this imam, or another, will say: I never said this munafiq has to die.
12:54   But for someone in the know, it is clear that you’ve been outlawed.
12:59   You also see this in the reactions. The imam who appeared
13:02   in your report [and condemned Salafist schools]
13:05   had a hard time the day after, for several days. he was mocked, denounced as hypocrite, munafiq;
13:14   he was called names.
13:17   Not this imam, but the imam in our report. —Exactly.
13:21   Who takes a stand. Because that is of course progress.
13:24   We need an Islamic community that speaks out against this. That’s what I want to know.
13:28   How difficult, maybe even dangerous, is it to do that?
13:31   You’ve been doing that for years. —It’s not without risk.
13:36   You’re insulted, threatened, your family is harassed, you’re mocked.
13:42   For example, when I was an MP, a teacher at such an Islamic school invited me to speak,
13:51   and then I was uninvited because I stood up for gays, so I am not welcome.
13:58   So… in many different ways, people who take a stand are slandered.
14:05   and denounced as… really excommunicated, with all that entails.
14:10   You just said: those in the know are aware what these concepts mean.
14:14   Is it maybe also a problem that the average Dutch politician is not familiar with these concepts?
14:19   I think so. I think in our society there’s more knowledge now.
14:22   We have learned a lot since the murder of Theo van Gogh, but we still
14:52   know only a third. And they’re often… they’re parallel societies. If you’re not part of them,
15:25   if you don’t have contact with it on a personal level, you won’t be likely to perceive it,
15:35   so these kind of books can be used at schools for a long time.
15:39   And you can just ask for a copy, like we did, and just read them.
15:42   Yes. But you have to make a conscious effort to do so, otherwise you won’t come across it,
15:47   until a journalist asks that question. —Yes.
15:50   Let’s have a look at two fellow mayors. One knows a lot about Salafism, the other maybe less.
16:01   Let’s see how they reacted in the past.
16:05   Every Muslim is just a little bit Salafist.
16:08   So. —You immediately freak me out when you say that.
16:12   Well, even so, it’s the truth. I’ve also said I’m a jihadist.
16:15   I find that even scarier. —That’s even scarier. I get up at 7am
16:18   to do the right thing for the city and the Netherlands.
16:21   Yes. —That’s jihad in its purest form. —The as-Sunnah mosque receives
16:24   thousands of euros in subsidies every year from the city of the Hague.
16:27   A mosque that teaches in an online course, to this day,
16:31   that stoning is the proper punishment for adultery.
16:35   Why does a mosque like that receive thousands of euros a year?
16:39   You are mixing up several things. That money for NYE is for warm food and drink.
16:49   And for a €25 coupon per person for people who patrol at night
16:52   [such as the al-Nusra member Othman al-Khamees].
16:55   Yes, but it’s still a few thousand euros per year. The same goes
16:59   for the neighborhood centers and gyms and everybody who helps us keep the peace.
17:04   To start with the last one, your fellow mayor Pauline Krikke, is she underestimating the matter?
17:12   I think it’s part of the struggle if you have such an organisation in your city.
17:18   and they appear to do good things, then only if you know they’re doing this kind of…
17:26   This was in context of our report on this mosque,
17:29   who was financing it [Kuwait], and what was preached there.
17:32   I feel that you shouldn’t underestimate Salafist organizations, or minimize them.
17:37   We’ll have to confront them, as is happening now.
17:41   We have to stop them infecting our children, so we also have to…
17:46   So you’re saying stop, ban. That means you need criminal law, the public prosecution department.
17:52   We called the public prosecution department today, and asked what they were planning to do.
17:55   And they haven’t even decided if they will investigate.
17:59   So it’s dubious whether that approach will lead to anything.
18:03   But the national government has the responsibility to help us local representatives.
18:09   Because these Salafist organizations, due to their infecting our children,
18:14   and radicalizing them, are a threat to public order and security,
18:19   and if a club like Martijn can be disbanded for that reason —The pedophile club.
18:23   …then the same can be done with these kind of organisations.
18:26   They, too, are a threat to public order.
18:29   What you’re saying is the will is lacking. Let’s consider for a moment your colleague Aboutaleb.
18:32   because today this may be harder to understand: he says we’re all a little bit Salafist.
18:37   What Salafism does, and Salafist organisations do, is use the mask of orthodoxy.
18:44   If you look at them from a strictly theological viewpoint, they appear just to be orthodox people.
18:49   But they’re not Salafist organizations, they’re politically Islamist, ideologically organized,
18:55   and have a political agenda. They want one state,
18:59   Sharia; they see one superior people, the Salafists.
19:03   The rest do not deserve to live, and we’ve seen this in your show two days ago.
19:11   So your message to the national government is: do something.
19:14   We need action. —Thank you for coming to the studio. Ahmed Marcouch.

3 thoughts on “The Growth of Salafism in the Netherlands

  1. The Mayor speaks of:
    “people who devote themselves to another Islam ….their twisted ideas and delusions …under the spell of Salafism, ….It’s a small step from fundamentalism to extremism up to subscribing to a violent idea… you spread hate among young people and call them to violence. That is my grievance against you.”

    He sounds like David Cameron.

    The Mayor nourishes the notion of “another Islam”, with “twisted ideas and delusions” and “preachers who spread their poison …spread hate”.

    This is very dangerous.

    The unspoken premise is that real Islam is Nice and Peaceful. Of course, this is what listeners WANT to hear, and this is what they take home. Meanwhile the anti-Constitutional teachings go on in the Salafi schools.

    The media urgently need to start climbing the Learning Curve.

    Salafism preaches hate and violence.
    Islam preaches hate and violence.

    Salafism is “back to the roots” Islam, following closely the Islam of Mohammed and the first generations (Salaf) of his followers, eschewing later developments like revering shrines of scholars. In that way it is closely like the “back to the roots” work of Martin Luther, rejecting all non-Scripture-based teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. The Latin for root is RADIX, giving us the word “radical”. The radical, or “fundamentalist” followers of a religion are not “deluded” or “twisted”: they closely follow the source texts.

    What is it about Salafism that is un-Islamic?
    That is what the media should ask the Mayor.

  2. The mayor of Arnhem , I remember reading about some statements he made in the past far from “ moderate” .
    Sounds like “Taqiya” talk to me .

  3. Give the man a break. Unlike most of we “keyboard warriors”, he’s probably already putting himself in harm’s way, even with such “moderate” comments.

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