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Controversial Amsterdam mosque strikes back

29 April 2004

AMSTERDAM — The directors of El Tawheed mosque in Amsterdam have hit back at politicians who have called for it to face sanctions for selling a book that advocates the murder of gay people.

Parliamentarians debated on Wednesday whether the book – De weg van de moslim, or the way of the Muslim – should be banned or whether the mosque should be closed down and its officials prosecuted for distributing the book.

In response, El Tawheed foundation said the criticism levelled against it by politicians and the media was “totally baseless”.

Officials at the mosque pointed out the book is available from many outlets in the Netherlands and that several educational institutions, including Hogeschool van Amsterdam, use the book as study material.

“El Tawheed has done nothing more that sell the book as a bookshop. It is for sale everywhere, so why is it only El Tawheed that is committing a crime by selling this book,” the foundation asked in a press release.

The foundation asserted that if the book was so offensive, it and not the mosque should be banned. 

The Islamic foundation accused politicians and the media of stigmatising the mosque unfairly.

“When it comes to El Tawheed, there is no question of an even-handed approach, and incorrect characterisations are unhelpful and contribute to a discordant world view,” the foundation said.

The mosque denied its clerics preached hate and instead spread a message of peace and forbade oppression.

“El Tawheed therefore does not call for extremism, violence or violation of Dutch law,” it said.

Subject: Dutch news + Islam in the Netherlands