A foundation running a Turkish mosque in Rotterdam asked Muslims not to respond to "provocation" by a Dutch faction of the far-right movement PEGIDA as the latter plans a controversial rally.
Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb has allowed the group to hold a BBQ party with pork dishes outside the mosque at the time of iftar, a dinner for Muslims to break the fast. Muslims are currently observing the fast of the month of Ramadan where they abstain from eating and drinking from dawn to dusk. Pork meat is "haram" or forbidden in Islam and far-right groups often throw pig's heads at mosques in Europe to insult Muslims.
The administration of Laleli Mosque run by the Diyanet Foundation of the Netherlands - a non-profit organization linked to Turkey's state-run religious authority- asked Muslims to be calm and not to yield to "provocation." PEGIDA sought to stage similar stunts in other Dutch cities including Utrecht, Gouda, The Hague and Arnhem but city halls there did not allow it to be held. The planned rally bears the title of "No Islam, Just Freedom" with an image of high-heeled shoe trampling on Muslim holy book Qur'an accompanying brochures to promote the event. The far-right group says they want to "show the true face of Islam."
The Turkish foundation said it was operating in the Netherlands since 1982 and never came across "such unpleasant actions" before and was "determined to keep it that way." "Living together peacefully, respecting and supporting each other is a reality in our neighborhood. We will not allow it to be disrupted by the provocation of a small group," a written statement by the foundation says, while expressing concern about "any outside intervention to the demonstration by members of our congregation or others." "We cannot control people and we shared our concerns with the police. We believe they will do what is necessary against any possible unpleasant incidents," the statement said.
The Islamic houses of worship across Europe have endured dozens of far-right attacks since January as attackers attempted to arson them with Molotov cocktails or spray-painted terror symbols or racist slurs on the walls. Luckily, the attacks caused no casualties.
The European Islamophobia Report 2017 - unveiled by the Istanbul-based Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA) on Wednesday - revealed 908 crimes, ranging from verbal and physical attacks to murder attempts, targeting Muslims in Germany, as well as 664 in Poland, 364 in the Netherlands, 256 in Austria, 121 in France, 56 in Denmark, and 36 in Belgium.
In April, far-right groups have attacked three mosques in the Netherlands. The extreme right-wing Rechts in Verzet group put up banners with Islamophobic content in the entrance of three mosques in Enschede and Houten provinces.
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