Friday, February 20, 2015 - 18:51
Controversial Imam gala cancelled for Dutch "intolerance"
The controversial imam gala event scheduled for March 8 in Rijswijk has been cancelled, the organizers announced on Friday. "After all the controversy that has arisen as a result of organizing the fundraiser on March 8 in Rijswijk, Rohamaa Foundation sees no choice but to cancel the benefit. It is impossible for us to organize this day as we had envisioned," the group said in their statement. "There were also threats made at the address of one of our sponsors," they remarked. "As concerned citizens of this country, we feel extremely limited in our basic freedoms. In contrast, we are encouraged by the many messages of support from our supporters and beyond." The event put together by the Rohamaa Foundation involved imams from around the world coming together in the Netherlands. Some figures are alleged to frequently recite hateful diatribes from their podiums, having sympathies for Al-Qaeda and encouraging jihad. Three visas granted to some off the imams were rescinded by the Dutch government earlier in the week. Rohamaa expressed disappointment at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the visa issue, and said they wished there had been more transparency in the decision. They went on to add that they found the reaction by many in the Netherlands to be intolerant, and the reporting by the Dutch media to be biased. "However, we would prefer to draw attention to the goal we are pursuing from our establishment: Helping the needy around the world," the organization said. The municipality called the move by the foundation "very brave". A second controversial gala is scheduled to take place in Utrecht on March 1. Members of parliament have called for a debate on that issue as well.