Wednesday 10 August 2022

Imam who attacked Rotterdam mayor is not breaking the law: public prosecutor


The public prosecution department does not have a good reason to take legal action against a controversial imam who has attacked Rotterdam mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb in a sermon, justice minister Ferd Grapperhaus told MPs on Tuesday.

Imam Fawaz Jneid ‘ranted for an hour in Arabic’ about Aboutaleb in January, calling him an  apostate Muslim and an enemy of real Islam, the Telegraaf reported earlier this week.

Grapperhaus told MPs he is disgusted by Jneid’s views but that the public prosecution department does not consider he can be taken to court for inciting violence.

‘We are looking at everything he said from the perspective of the law,’ he said while answering MPs questions. ‘But on Facebook too, this man keeps just within the boundaries.’

Grapperhaus said that he wanted to look at what could be done to toughen up the approach to radical imams. That could mean that we have to ‘give up part of our freedom to express ourselves’, he said.

A spokesman for Aboutaleb said on Monday that the imam could better spend his time preaching togetherness rather than divisions. He would not comment on the implications for Aboutaleb’s security arrangements.

Jneid was earlier banned from entering The Hague neighbourhoods of Transvaal and Schilderswijk because he had been preaching at an illegal mosque.

That ban was extended again in January, partly because of the Aboutaleb speech, Dick Schoof, the head of the Dutch counter terrorism unit NCTV, said on Monday.

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