Wednesday, February 18, 2015 - 09:40
Muslims must get mad at religious violence: Rotterdam Mayor
Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb is urging Muslims to actively distance themselves from attacks committed in the name of religion. He said this yesterday at the summit he is attending on countering violent extremism in the White House in Washington. "More than ever, international tensions are having an impact on the local community. For that reason, there must be room for anger and grief. At the same time, we need to ensure that international conflicts do not degenerate into hostilities in our streets." Mayor Aboutaleb said in his speech yesterday. The full version of the speech can be seen here. He pointed out four points that he believes are crucial in the fight against radicalization and religious extremism. One of the points he touched on is the importance of calling on residents to seek each other out and enter into a dialogue. "As mayor and a practicing Muslim, I also call upon the Muslim community to take action and make their voices heard more loudly. In my opinion it is precisely that voice that is a valuable medicine: the 16 million Muslims in Europe and 2 million in the United States can show that their religious beliefs can be perfectly combined with our Western Values. He touched on a strong access to information. "If you know what is going on in the city, you can respond quickly and appropriately to tensions in society and their effects, especially with respect to young people." According to the mayor, you need the confidence of the residents to accomplish this, which is why he frequently goes into the city to talk to residents about the safety of their neighborhoods. Mayor Aboutaleb pointed to the importance of offering prospects to young people so that they are less receptive to extremist ideas. "Good education, adequate trainee-ships and jobs will always be necessary. Because a good education is important for finding a good job, of course. Because a paid job is the best remedy against poverty and a life on the margins of society. The margins where malicious people will find their victims." He also noted that it is important to set boundaries that are written down in the Constitution and monitor them. "When new citizens are granted the Dutch nationality, I point out, during the naturalization ceremony, not only their rights but also the duties that Dutch law imposes on them."