Netherlands: Imams recalled to Morocco

The governing bodies of mosques in the Netherlands are alarmed by the departure of at least 40 imams on a government-paid trip to Morocco. [ed: paid by the Moroccan gov't]

After being invited to the authorities in Rabat to Morocco, the clerics left on Friday without consulting the boards which administer the mosques.

Nearly a quarter of the imams in the Netherlands are taking part in the trip.

Trouw reports that parliament wants an explanation for the sudden recall to Morocco of 50 imams, who were summoned to take part in 'religious talks'.

Labour MP Jeroen Dijsselbloem is concerned about the sudden departure of the clergymen. "I'm told they were recalled for instruction. It is unacceptable Morocco should interfere with Moroccans in the Netherlands this way. Many Moroccans don't want this at all, they want integration."

Christian Democratic MP Madeleine van Toorenburg says:  "This is once again proof that the Moroccan government is wrapping its tentacles around the Moroccan community in the Netherlands."

Director Farid Azarkan of the Association of Moroccans in the Netherlands says the Moroccan authorities have been increasingly interfering with the affairs of mosques in the Netherlands.

Azarkan says the situation is bizarre and unacceptable. "The imams are paid by the mosques, and yet the influence of Morocco is so strong that the imams immediately pack their backs when recalled by Rabat.  Some of them only go because they are afraid."

In February, the Moroccan foreign ministry announced it wanted to increase its influence on Moroccan migrant communities abroad, and created a council for overseas religious affairs.


Source: Expatica (English)

No comments: