Netherlands: Police proposed to deal with mosque-residents fights
See also here for a video report (in Dutch).
A few months ago I reported about fights between mosque-goers and dog walkers. Last week the mosque again got to the news after a man walking his dog said he was attacked by a Muslim who threatened to shoot his dog. Other residents interviewed at the time said they liked the mosque, walked their dogs by it and never had problems with it. (NL)
The El Fath mosque in Liendert (Amersfoort) has been in the news regularly over the past few months in connection with various tensions between residents and mosque visitors. After several incidents of violence local party BPA is pressing in the local council for police supervision. The mosque administration says, however, that the unrest is being exaggerated and criticizes the image arising in the media.
In recent months there have been several rights between mosque-visitors and residents, among other things about bicycling on the footpath parallel to the Valleikanaal, cars being double parked in the neighborhood, and dogs being let loose near the mosque. "Particularly in the last weeks the situation seems to have gotten out of hand," says BPA council member Ruud Schulten. "Some people feel so threatened that they don't dare go out of the house. Last week on Sunday a man saw a mosque-visitor bicycling on the footpath, and approached him about it. He was consequently threatened by a group of Moroccans, and a couple who wanted to help him was sharply attacked too. 'We will hang your dog,' they threatened." Schulten also says he knows of a number of similar incidents.
Abdelkarim Elkarti, the El Fath spokesperson and former board member, says that he hasn't heard of this incident. "And what I don't understand is why this must obviously be linked to the mosque. We are not a Moroccan institution. In fact, I think that a mosque-visitor would never do something like that, they want just peace and harmony."
Elkarti says it's characteristic that the incident was linked to the mosque. "A different incident that completely unjustly was linked to our mosque took place a kilometer away and did not involve any mosque-visitor."
The mosque administration says that the mosque seems to be in the spotlight because several residents are trying to make a political issue out of it. Elkarti: "A very small group of people knows to regularly find the media. But the image that those several residents portray, isn't true from any aspect. There's absolutely no issue here of the situation escalating. We're doing many activities for and with the neighborhood and we've received many expressions of support and positive reactions."
According to Elkarti in the recent time there have been a few misunderstanding. "We're accused, for example, of wanting to restrict the dog-release policy. That is definitely incorrect. We've never asked for such a ban and think too that dogs are absolutely not impure."
Elkarti recognizes that mosque-goers do bicycle on the footpath. "Just like many students. Already before the building of the mosque we've asked for bicycle paths, but sadly we're still waiting for those. For that matter, we speak to our people about it and emphasize that they may not bicycle there."
Source: De Stad Amersfoort (Dutch)