A number of reactions to the death of two Dutch soldiers in Uruzgan (Afghanistan) on the forum of website marokko.nl had been removed. An unknown number of users were banned, said one of the forum founders.
Messages such as "Allahu akbar! two violent criminals gotten rid of that have so many rapes on their names and civilian murders" or "thanks to this topic I can sleep better. Allahu Akbar! Wonderful news!". Various users on the forum opposed the senders of these messages.
"We remove reactions that conflict with the law," says Khalid Mahdaoui. "But a statement may be ethically irresponsible. We think that people should be able to react to it. We want to offer youth a podium. The power of the argument matters."
Earlier on Monday the PVV (Party of Freedom) demanded that the minister of culture Ronald Plasterk cancel the subsidy to the site. Geert Wilders' party says that this is the last straw and that the reactions were removed but only after being displayed for hours.
Marokko.nl gets a 135,000 euro subsidy for encouraging the press. The PVV had complained about the forum in the past and were told by Plasterk that the subsidy was given to the news section of the site and not to the forum itself. PVV claims the forum also started off the row about the exhibition of Sooreh Hera in the Hague Museum
According to Mahdaoui marokko.nl attracts about 50,000 unique visitors a day, with about 40,000 reactions posted on the forum. About 30 moderators try to control everything. Readers can report reactions that they think have gone too far. Previous screening of members is impossible.
14 and 16 year olds are especially active on the forum, half of whom are Moroccans. Mahdaoui knows that some members don't grieve when Dutch die in Afghanistan. "And that is putting it mildly. But you can remove the reaction, but that doesn't apply to the thought of a person. So there are also ethnic Dutch that cheer civilian deaths in Iraq."
Plasterk said that he found some statements on the forum shocking. He is happy that some reactions were removed. The politician is checking whether the subsidy should be canceled.
Sources: Trouw 1, 2; Telegraaf (Dutch)
See also: Netherlands: Poll on Jami attack, Netherlands: More terror planned