Rotterdam mosque gutted by arson
15 June 2005, AMSTERDAM — A mosque was gutted by an arson attack in the west of Rotterdam in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
15 June 2005
AMSTERDAM — A mosque was gutted by an arson attack in the west of Rotterdam in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
Police have said the inside of the Shaan-e-Islam prayer room in a warehouse on the Aleidisstraat has been destroyed. The mosque is linked to the Dutch Muslim association NMA and is mainly frequented by members of the Surinamese community.
The cause of the fire has yet to be established. It was discovered at about 4am after local residents heard a loud bang.
A police spokesperson said the blaze caught hold quickly in the building and the ground floor which houses the mosque was totally burnt out. There were no injuries.
Several slogans were clearly visible on the outside walls of the building in news footage of the building on Wednesday morning.
Locals claim the messages were also written in the early hours of Wednesday morning and the police are investigating if there is an actual link between the slogans and the fire.
The message in one of the slogans read: "geen moskee in Zuid" (no mosque in south). Another was the word "Lonsdale" along with a cross in a circle, a far-right symbol.
Some Dutch right-wingers, particularly teenagers with fascist sympathises, have a preference for clothing made by the Lonsdale clothing company in the UK because the middle letters of the brand name — nsda — call to mind Adolf Hitler's Nazi party, NSDAP.
Another slogan "Theo R.I.P." which was daubed on the wall of the mosque is a reference to filmmaker and Muslim critic Theo van Gogh.
Van Gogh was murdered in Amsterdam on 2 November and a Muslim man who was arrested moments later following a gun battle with police has admitted killing Van Gogh.
Mosque chairman Abdoelhak Billar expressed shock at the arson attack on the Shaan-e-Islam when he was interviewed by RTL Nieuws.
"Arson and racist slogans are an abnormal act… committed only by pathetic people," he said
The mosque has been based in its current location since 1982 and has never been attacked before. It is due to be move to the south of Rotterdam in 18 months time, but Billar said he did not see this as the motive for the attack.
Some media outlets reported on Wednesday that there had been a rally by right-wingers in the south of the city at the weekend in protest at the coming of the mosque.
Denying this was the case, Billar said "everything is arranged".
On Tuesday a court in Rotterdam sentenced a man, 25, to 12 months, with six suspended, for an arson attack on the Mevlana mosque on 7 November 2004 — five days after Van Gogh's murder.
Taking into account time he had already served in custody, the defendant walked free after the court handed down its ruling.
The Mevlana mosque is in the same part of Rotterdam as the Shaan-e-Islam mosque.
In April, another man received 12 months, with nine suspended for an arson attack on the Rahmann mosque in Breda a day after Van Gogh was killed.
Badir Islamic primary school in the Brabant town of Uden was totally destroyed by arson a week after the killing. Several native Dutch schoolboys have appeared in court in relation to this incident.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]
Subject: Dutch news + Muslims in the Netherlands + anti-Muslim violence