AMSTERDAM – Three radical imams have been ordered to leave the Netherlands after the country’s intelligence service said they represented a security threat, the Justice Ministry said on Thursday.
The clerics from Eindhoven’s Al Fourkaan mosque are the first to face expulsion after the Dutch government vowed to crack down on militants following the murder last November of a filmmaker critical of Islam.
The AIVD intelligence service said the men worked to radicalise Muslims and turn them away from Western values and tolerated the use of their mosques as recruiting grounds for militancy.
“The AIVD has come to the conclusion that the imams willingly and knowingly contributed to the radicalisation of Muslims in the Netherlands and were also responsible for the creation of a breeding ground for a Jihad,” the ministry said.
It added one of the imams had already left the Netherlands — home to 1 million Muslims who are mostly of Turkish or Moroccan descent — and that if the other two did not leave they would be expelled.
The country has about 16 million residents.
Following the murder of filmmaker Theo van Gogh, the Dutch parliament demanded a ban on residence permits for foreign imams from 2008 while the government has been working on schemes to train more moderate Dutch-speaking Muslim preachers.