25 October 2004
AMSTERDAM — The leader of the Dutch-Belgian Arab European League (AEL) has come out in support of killing Dutch troops serving in Iraq.
"I consider every death of an American, British or Dutch soldier as a victory," Dyab Abou Jahjah said in an interview with Flemish newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws on Monday.
There are currently 1,376 Dutch soldiers serving on peacekeeping duties in southern Iraq and two have been killed since the mission started in the summer of 2003. The troops are scheduled to return home in March 2005.
Despite his praise for the deaths of coalition troops, Abou Jahjah said he was opposed to the beheadings of hostages in Iraq. "Beheading is ethically and religiously wrong. Muslims don't even butcher a sheep in this way," he said.
The outspoken Lebanese-born immigrant Abou Jahjah has made fewer headlines in recent times since his political aspirations met with little success in Belgium elections.
He founded the AEL in 2001 in Antwerp, Belgium. The organisation — which also has a branch in the Netherlands — claims to support integration, but not assimilation of Muslim and Arab immigrants into European society.
When the foundation of the Dutch branch of the organisation was announced in 2003, several Dutch politicians from mainstream parties called for it to be outlawed. The Justice Ministry had to concede there were no grounds for doing so.
In April, the AEL "saluted" on its website the armed resistance to the US-led coalition being mounted by "the Iraqi population" in Fallujah.
Meanwhile, Abou Jahjah also spoke out strongly against racism in Flanders on Monday, claiming that the Belgium region had many more racists than the 1 million people who voted for the extreme right-wing group Vlaams Blok.
"Flanders is a right-wing bulwark in Europe," said Abou Jahjah, who recently moved from Antwerp to the Brussels' municipality Schaarbeek. "God was not generous for Flemish people when he handed out intellect."
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news
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