Netherlands: what apologies?

The short version: That you deserve death according to Islam? We can't apologize for something we didn't say but we're not going to deny it either.

The long version:

Ewout Jansen, an Amsterdam comedian that a translator of a mosque in Amsterdam wished for his death last week due to his jokes on Islam, visited the mosque in question for a cup of tea.

Jansen (23) met with the administrators of the As-soenah mosque. The vice president of the Union of Moroccan Muslim Organization in the Netherlands, Driss el-Boujoufi, was also present. According to him the administration regrets the statements of the man. But there was no question of apologies since the man was "a visitor". "We are not responsible for everyone who visits the mosque. therefore we cannot offer our apologies because we have done nothing". He did say that "according to Islam nobody can take the law into their own hands".

Jansen, who is afraid the translator's statements "will give an idea to somebody outside the mosque" wanted the imam to to say that he shouldn't be killed and that by definition whoever makes jokes about Islam should not be killed, and he wanted him to do so on camera, as Campus-TV was filming the visit. But that wasn't easy. "The imam is not important enough to give an answer" said El-Boujoufi. Jansen was told that the question of whether you can make jokes about Islam according to the Koran should be submitted to a council of Imams.

Afterwards Jansen summarized it as follows in front of Campus TV's cameras: Whether Islam says that I should be killed, they need to yet think about that. They have four weeks for that. They don't say themselves that I should be killed and say that most Muslims also think so. If their "research" shows that I should indeed be killed according to Islam, then I shouldn't worry according to them, since it's forbidden by Dutch law."

The mosque was the center of a scandal last week when Amsterdam student newspaper Folia reported that a spokesman said that Jansen should be killed because of his jokes about Islam, during an interview with several mosque leaders and an imam. The man acted as translator according to the journalist. But the mosque administration and Amsterdam alderman Ahmed Aboutaleb said afterwards that it was a visitor to the mosque that had no connection to the mosque administration. Though the Folia journalist maintains that the man acted as translator, the Amsterdam municipality decided to drop the issue.

According to Het Parool newspaper, Aboutaleb pressed for the meeting between Jansen and the mosque administration. His spokesman, Herbert Raat, did not want to confirm that. "But we always think it's a good thing that people talk to each other".

Indeed, the mosque administration is not going to deny the visitor entrance to the mosque, like Aboutaleb said last week. Raat: "The mosque administration says that they can keep an eye on him better and therefore make sure that the man will not slide further. That seems very reasonable to us."

Source: Elsevier (Dutch)

See also: Netherlands: Death threats quickly ignored, Netherlands: Comedian should be killed

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