Dutch language gaining ground in mosques

24th December 2011, Comments 0 comments

Dutch mosques are beginning to phase out Arabic-only sermons. Research at Utrecht University has shown that Surinamese Muslims are leading in this respect.

Researcher Nico Landman told the ANP agency that such a development is logical, seeing that Dutch is the language that the Surinamese commonly speak in the Netherlands. There are approximately 20 Surinamese mosques in the Netherlands.

In the Moroccan-Dutch community preaching in Dutch is growing, according to Amsterdam imam Yassin Elforkani. He pointed to the Ulu mosque in Utrecht and the Blue mosque in Amsterdam as two prominent examples. The rise of Dutch can be explained by the desire to reach young Dutch Muslims, most of whom do not speak Arabic, Elforkani said. Dutch-Moroccan youths also prefer Dutch when communicating on Facebook and other social media.

The majority of the approximately 200 Moroccan-Dutch mosques, however, stick to Arabic for their sermons, although they are usually followed by a summary in Dutch.

Researcher Landman pointed out that the picture is different in the Turkish community, where Turkish is still the dominant language, both in mosques and outside.

The Roman Catholic church gave up Latin-only masses after 1964, following a papal decree which allowed the use of vernacular languages. In protestant churches, Dutch has been used since they were founded in the 16th century.

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