Dutch Islamic group backs anti-terror vigilance

AMSTERDAM — Dutch Islamic organisation CMO is urging 300 affiliated mosques and Muslim associations to be on the alert for signs of terrorism and fundamentalism. It is also advising them to support the government in its efforts against extremism.

During a visit of Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk to the Al Kabir mosque in Amsterdam East — known as the most moderate mosque in the Netherlands — it was confirmed that the CMO will send affiliated mosques and associations an advisory letter this week.

Al Kabir’s deputy imam, M. Ouled Abdullah, said the Islamic community is concerned by a report from the secret service AIVD that Muslim youth are being recruited for Jihad, or holy war.

Islam / Islamism

Islamism is a totalitarian ideology adhered to by Muslim extremists (e.g. the Taliban, Hamas and Osama bin Laden). It is considered to be a distortion of Islam. Many Islamists engage in terrorism in pursuit of their goals.

Adherents of Islam are called “Muslims.” The term “Arab” describes an ethnic or cultural identity. Not all Arabs are Muslims, and not all Muslims are Arabs. The terms are not interchangeable.

Some of the recruiting is being conducted in mosques, but Abdullah does not think it occurs in his mosque. But the 38-year-old could not give a 100 percent guarantee and said “we must remain alert and watchful”, newspaper De Telegraaf reported on Wednesday.

The imam also said if there is a better exchange of information between the government and the Islamic community, Muslims can take action against extremism and terrorism. He also requested more support from the government in efforts against terrorist practices.

A spokesman from the Union of Moroccan Mosques in the Netherlands said he wanted more information from security services so that mosque administrators can be better prepared to spot Jihad recruiters and report possible misunderstandings.

Both men urged the government to protect the Islamic community against “dangerous tendencies” who wish to attack them and Abdallah also reminded people that the Koran rejected every form of violence and terror.

Minister Verdonk said it was important for the Islamic community to openly denounce terrorism and urged for greater understanding. “Native Dutch people don’t have to be frightened of Muslims,” she said and instead should see them as normal people.

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