Foreign Muslim clerics who preach hatred in Dutch mosques and who glorify terrorism face deportation, social affairs minister Lodewijk Asscher says in Monday’s Telegraaf.
Imams with Dutch nationality will also be stopped from preaching, Asscher told the paper.
‘If an imam from Syria wants to preach here and does not have peaceful intentions, he will not get a visa,’ Asscher said. ‘We will also make the lives difficult of Dutch imams who grew up here and spread hatred.’
It is not the first time controversial religious leaders have been refused visas. Integration minister Rita Verdonk also banned several from travelling to the Netherlands and had others deported between 2003 and 2007.
The decision tackle so-called ‘hate imams’ is part of a wider programme to counteract the radicalisation of young Dutch Muslims, Asscher said.
For example, efforts are also being made to train key figures in the Muslim community to try to stop youngsters coming under the influence of violent Muslim extremism.
‘One of the great freedoms we enjoy here is freedom of religion,’ Asscher said. ‘But that should not be abused. We will make the life of hate imams difficult, and where we can, impossible.’
Labour leader Diederik Samsom told the Volkskrant at the weekend the Netherlands needs to show more daring in tackling failures in integration.
Referring to the ‘extreme barbarism’ of the Islamic State organisation, Samsom said ‘the breeding ground for a mutual lack of understanding or even hate remains unfortunately fertile in the Netherlands’.
Dutch laws must be ‘more actively’ applied and adapted ‘to preserve the rule of law from those who would undermine it’.
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