Netherlands: Mosque goers vs. Dog walkers

Netherlands: Mosque goers vs. Dog walkers

Visitors of the El Fath mosque in the Amersfoort neighborhood of Liendert (Netherlands) and dog walkers along the Valleikanaal, behind the prayer house, are not hitting it off.

Some mosque goers are annoyed by the four-legged animals, who for many Muslims are impure, running freely

The dog owners say that El Fath didn't have permission for an entrance on the footpath.  Most don't plan to leash their dogs.  Local party BPA brought the issue up to the city council.

Pico, a Spanish dog, is one his mistress knows can run free.  But visitors of the El Fath mosque prefer that Ineke Simonis leash her dog.  They prefer that he doesn't come close to them.  Certainly not  just after a prayer service, after they've just purified their souls.  A dog is after all an impure animal for Muslims.

Ineke, just like other dog walkers along the Valleikanaal, had already exchanged words a few times with mosque goes who leave through the back of the prayer house.  "And it's not friendly then.  They scream at me that my dog may not run freely here.  Than I shout back that they're wrong."
A look at the dog walkers map of the Amersfoort municipality shows that the dog walkers are right.  Pets can ran free in many areas along the Valleikannal, including the area behind the mosque.

Resident Bert van der Kuil has been walking his dogs along the canal for 40 years.  He doesn't plan to leash them for the mosque, though he almost got into a fight a couple of times with a group of young Muslims.  "If there will be a leashing order, then it's war in the neighborhood," he says.  Fellow resident Bert Meijer does leash his dog next to the mosque.  "I think it's a question of respect."

In the El Fath mosque, nobody wanted to say anything Tuesday afternoon about the frictions between Muslims and dog walkers.  Muslim men who cmae out of the mosque, stayed silent.  Inside, a spokesperson referred to the administration.  He did say that the problem will be solved.

The mosque administration was unavailable for the rest of the day.  Two immigrant men shuffling along the footpath with prayer beads in their hands understand the difficulty, although it doesn't concern them. "This is the mosque for the Moroccans.  We are Turks, out mosque is on Kruiskamp.  But dogs are impure, that's right."

Dog owner Henny Ruizendaal chuckles with indignation about the attitude of the El Fath mosque.  She participated in the "Goede Buren" (good neighbors) project, in which neighborhood residents could discuss the then controversial building of the mosque.  She says they've discussed it often there, and then they opened an additional entrance in the back.  She adds that one isn't allowed to bike on the path, but they don't care about that.

Source: AD (Dutch), h/t NRP

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