Netherlands bars imams' charity visit

Opposition parties demand explanation after three imams barred from attending charity conference in The Hague.

Netherlands bars imams' charity visit
World Bulletin / News Desk
Three allegedly "radical" imams of Middle-Eastern origin who were due to attend a charity event in the Netherlands have had their visas cancelled.

The imams were reportedly planning to visit the country in March to attend a conference being held by The Hague-based Muslim charity Rohamaa, when their visas were cancelled following information provided by the Dutch Anti-Terrorist and Safety Coordinator or NCTV, the Dutch Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.

The ministry gave no further details regarding neither the names of the imams nor the information provided by the Dutch agency.

Seven speakers from Egypt, Kuwait, Jordan, Nigeria and Belgium were scheduled to feature at the fund-raising event on March 8 in the western town of Rijswijk. 

'Polarized atmosphere'

The charity said they were surprised by the ministry's decision to cancel the visas, adding the move would further aggravate the "polarized atmosphere" in the Netherlands.

The event has recently made headlines across the country and also tops much of the agenda of the Dutch government and opposition parties.

Some opposition parties have demanded an explanation from the foreign ministry for the decision and the mayor of the Rijswijk Municipality, Michel Bezuijen, has organized gatherings with officials from security forces to discuss the upcoming event.

Machiel de Graaf, an MP from the extreme Dutch right-wing Party for Freedom, called in November for the closure of all mosques in the country during a parliamentary debate on integration, arguing that his party "wants to de-Islamize the Netherlands".

The party's leader Geert Wilders, who is known for his anti-immigration and anti-Islamic ideas, once compared the holy Quran to Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf.

Last Mod: 18 Şubat 2015, 13:58
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