Tilburg: Controversial imam "doesn't belong here"

Tilburg mayor Ruud Vreeman has told controversial imam Ahmed Salam that he "doesn't belong here."

Excerpts from a confidential report published by the Brabants Dagblad on Saturday indicate that the imam was summoned to the city hall in December.

Both parties are refraining from comment on the reason for the talk or what was said. It is clear that the mayor was unhappy with certain recent statements from Salam. The spiritual leader reportedly called on his congregation to cause damage to the Dutch state by refusing to pay tax, for instance.

The mayor told the imam that he does not belong in the Netherlands. Vreeman put pressure on the imam by whatever means available to him. The police conduct frequent checks at the mosque and the social services and tax authority have been informed about he Salam family.

There was also contact with a primary school regarding the Salam children's absence because of a holiday in Syria.

The controversial sermons from the imam fall within the freedom of religion, the municipality says, and so the city cannot take any further action.

Ahmed Salam is one of a group of conservative Salafist imams who has been monitored by the intelligence and security service AIVD for years. A number of these imams has been deported, including two members of the Al Fourqaan mosque in Eindhoven, which is regarded as radical. Salam, originally Syrian, also holds Dutch nationality.

The Tilburg imam was in the news in November 2004 when he refused to shake the hand of Immigration and Integration minister at the time Rita Verdonk.

Source: Expatica (English)

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