11 May 2004
AMSTERDAM — The Dutch-Belgian Arab European League (AEL) is finding it increasingly difficult to arrange a controversial meeting at which Muslim militant Qazi Hussain Ahmed is scheduled to speak.
The AEL initially planned to hold the meeting at the Haagse Hogeschool in The Hague, but the college pulled out in protest against the invitation extended to the Pakistani militant.
Organisers then booked a hall in the Nederlands Congress Centrum in The Hague, but like the Haagse Hogeschool, the congress centre claims it has been misled by AEL leader Abou Jahjah and co-organiser Al Beit al-Arabi.
The congress centre claims the AEL was not fully open about the nature of the meeting, planned for 21 May, newspaper De Telegraaf reported on Tuesday. It has refused to host the public meeting.
The AEL refused to comment on Monday about the controversy that has erupted around Hussain Ahmed, the president of the Islamic party Jamaat-e-Islami, which has been accused of carrying out bloody attacks on Indian targets in the disputed Kashmir region.
The Hague-based Centre for Information and Documentation on Israel (CIDI) has warned the visit will endanger national security and public order. It has urged the Dutch government to refuse entry to Hussain Ahmed.
Also, the Dutch Hindu community plans to demonstrate against Hussain Ahmed if he gains entry to the Netherlands. “This man is a disruptive factor for peace in Europe; he sets population groups against each other,” a chief Hindu representative said.
Belgian Interior Minister Patrick Dewael has told the Belgian Parliament that Hussain Ahmed is to be received by the AEL in Belgium on 22 May and both the Dutch and Belgian governments are currently discussing the possibility of refusing entry to the Islamic leader.
Hussain Ahmed sparked controversy last weekend when he addressed a “hate congress” in the Lebanese capital Beirut. Hamas spiritual leader Mohammed Nazaal and the “spiritual father of the Palestinian suicide bombers”, Sheik Yousef al-Qardawi, also spoke at the congress.
It is also known that Hussain Ahmed has in the past supported the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. He expressed sympathy for Osama bin Laden, the leader of terror network Al Qaeda.
Dutch politicians have voiced concerns about the AEL, which was founded in 2001 in Antwerp, Belgium. The AEL — which later set up a branch in the Netherlands — claims to support integration, but not assimilation of Muslim and Arab immigrants into European society.
In April this year, the AEL’s website “saluted” the armed resistance to the US-led coalition being mounted by “the Iraqi population” in Fallujah.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch + Belgian news