The public prosecution department is keeping a very close eye on two so-called ‘hate imams’ and will take action if their statements break the law, justice minister Ferd Grapperhaus told MPs on Tuesday evening.
The imams – El-Alami Amaouch and Fawas Jneid – have kept within the letter of the law and there is not enough evidence against them to bring a prosecution, the minister said.
Jneid hit the headlines at the end of last month when the Telegraaf reported he had ‘ranted for an hour in Arabic’ about Rotterdam mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb, calling him an apostate Muslim and an enemy of real Islam.
MPs called for action to be taken against the imam and said the public prosecution department should launch a test case. ‘It is high time that the courts have a go,’ VVD parliamentarian Arno Rutte said during the debate, the Telegraaf reported.
Amaouch was last year deported back to the Netherlands from Belgium after the authorities there said he was a danger to society.
But in his case too, Grapperhaus told MPs that the public prosecution department has not identified sufficient grounds to prosecute him here.
Meanwhile, the Dutch imams association told the NRC it would not publish an official statement on Jneid’s comments.
‘There are so many people saying crazy things,’ a spokesman said. ‘And that includes Muslims, yes. Then we could publish a statement on a daily basis. And mayor Aboutaleb can defend himself perfectly well.’
Rotterdam imam Azzedine Karrat told the paper Jneid was driving people apart. And, he pointed out, his supporters are a small group.
‘His only stage is the internet and it is youngsters who follow preachers on social media. But Fawaz does not speak Dutch, so 99% of them can’t understand him. I’d say “don’t pay any attention to him”.’
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