Amsterdam: Councillor threatened by mosque administration

A labor party counsellor in the Amsterdam neighborhood De Baarsjes was threatened by the administration of the Aya Sofia mosque. They had also denied him entrance to the mosque. The Turkish mosque association, part of Milli Görüs, didn't agree with Kuskel Kaplan expressing criticism of the administration of the yet to be built Wester mosque.

The labor party in the neighborhood was told earlier this month that the Turkish-Dutch coucillor may not make critical comment about the mosque leadership and that if he does do so, there will be something in store for him, fraction chairman Martijn de Keizer confirmed Wednesday. The party had meanwhile lodged a complaint by the police, but De Keizer didn't want to speak about its contents. Milli Görüs is deliberating on a response.

A day before the suspected threat Kaplan fell out with a man when he visited the mosque in order to pray. The politician was attacked by him, and other visitors had to pull the two men apart. The also also lodged a complaint about this incident. Other mosque visitors had also done so, since they also feel intimidated.

The social-democrats in De Baarsjes took the threats hard. The neighborhood administration immediately took the leadership of the Aya Sofia mosque to task. Last week the party received letters from both Milli Görüs Nederland and Aya Sofia expressing regret. In it they promised that Kaplan can freely do his political work in the neighborhood. The mosque ban however would stay in place.

De Keizer calls it "completely unacceptable" that a councillor would be kept back in this manner from expressing his points of view. "It is of critical importance that politicians can do their work in freedom. This hurts the freedom of expression."

His party withdrew their trust in the mosque administration already a year and a half ago, since the threats were expressed towards Amsterdam residents if the building will not go through. The chairman says that now it appears correctly that the administration doesn't deserve their trust and that they're causing much damage to their own community with the way things are going. He says that through all this business the building of the Wester Mosque will be put off even further.

The plans for the mosque have been coupled for years with disagreements between De Baarsje, building corporation Het Oosten and the Aya Sofia mosque administration, about the religious course of the mosque. It is unclear when the mosque will be built.

Source: Trouw (Dutch)

See also: Amsterdam: Threats over a mosque, Amsterdam: Company threatens to stop mosque building

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