'Anti-gay' Rotterdam imam retires
27 June 2006, AMSTERDAM — Imam Khalil el Moumni is stepping down from his position in Rotterdam.
27 June 2006
AMSTERDAM — Imam Khalil el Moumni is stepping down from his position in Rotterdam.
The Moroccan-born cleric gained national recognition in 2001 when he made controversial statements about gay people.
Ali Tachi, chairman of the Annasr mosque in Rotterdam West, confirmed on Tuesday that El Moumni, almost 65, has said goodbye to the mosque's congregation. His retirement was first reported by newspaper 'AD Rotterdams Dagblad'.
El Moumni has been an imam at the mosque since 2991. He is to spend his retirement between Morocco and the Netherlands, Tachi said.
The imam likened homosexuality to a contagious disease in an interview in Arabic broadcast by news programme 'NOVA' in 2001. He also said homosexuality was harmful to society.
The imam was prosecuted for his remarks but a court in Rotterdam and an appeals court in The Hague acquitted him of accusations of discrimination. The judges said his statements fell under the freedom of religion.
As part of its judgement, the appeals court considered El Moumni's contention that NOVA had incorrectly translated the word 'marat'. An expert witness confirmed that 'deviation' was a better translation than 'contagious'.
Another important factor in the judges' decision was that El Moumni said in the interview that it is forbidden in Islam to pester another person and that Muslims must show respect to everyone. This portion of the interview was not broadcast.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]
Subject: Dutch news