An instructive school trip to a mosque for ten year olds from the Amsterdam school De Horizon turned into a tirade against unbelievers.
The surprised children and their escorts heard from the chairman of the El Mouchidine mosque in the Osdorp neighborhood that unbelievers were 'dogs'. The multicultural school organizes trips to various religious institutes as part of the project 'spiritual denominations since the management thinks it's important that the students meet the backgrounds of the diverse faiths.
In a letter to parents the school regretted the incident: "We are shocked that the chairman of the mosque declared during the guided tour to the children and escorting parents that unbelievers are dogs. This statement is unacceptable to us, as we have our children take part in this project in order to develop respect for free choice of religion."
The management has meanwhile turned to the mosque about the chairman's undesirable behavior. Both parties don't want to speak about it. Mariët ten Berge of the school administration said she was not interested in speaking to De Telegraaf about it, saying that they often go to the mosque and it had always gone well.
Source: Telegraaf (Dutch)
The school trip took place March 27. The mosque chairman spoke poor Dutch but told the kids, while waving his finger: "Islam is good, other beliefs are also good. But if you don't believe, that is not good, then you only eat and sleep, then you're just like an animal, such as a dog."
The children and escorts did not react at first. Only when they were back in school, when asked what they had learned, the students answered: that we are dogs.
The rest of the trip was fun and educational and the children had been treated hospitably.
The management send a letter to the parents on April 3rd. One parent forwarded the letter to newspaper SP!TS, which published the story on its front page. The parent got an angry call from Ten Berge. Mother Martine Boesten says the school had wanted to keep the story small, but that this is exactly the problem. "Maybe it's an incident for this mosque and this school but in general it isn't. How can you still trust such a chairman?"
Sources: Parool, SP!TS (Dutch), the letter sent by the school is available on GeenStijl (Dutch)
According to a press release by Mohamed Guennoun, chairman of the El Mouhahidine mosque, the report above is based on erroneous information. He had never called unbelievers dogs and he rejects such statements.
Guennoun writes that his mosque had been active for years in informing diverse groups about Islam, Muslims and what goes on in a mosque. This in addition to many social, cultural and educational activities organized by volunteers.
There were several tours in March. Since he doesn't speak Dutch well he was assisted by a volunteer during the first three tours. For the fourth group, who had come on March 26th, he had to do without translation.
When one 12 year old asked if Muslims are obligated to go to the mosque he had answered: No that is not obligatory. But there are those among us - those who think extremely - who think that if you as a Muslim don't go to the mosque five times a day to pray then you're really an unbeliever and not more than a dog.
Guennoun stresses that he was speaking of the extremists. He doesn't belong to that group and he rejects their way of thinking. He says his mosque will continue to open its doors for everybody as they think it is very important.
Especially since they like to have groups touring the mosque he would like the reports on this story to be rectified.
Source: Allochtonen Web (Dutch)