Islamic University under fire again after lecturer attacks Kurds

The Islamic University Rotterdam (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Timelezz)The Islamic University Rotterdam (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Timelezz)

Ahmet Akgunduz, the rector at the Islamic University of Rotterdam, has once again caused an uproar with hateful remarks about political opponents. This time he said that he is praying for those responsible for the recent bombing in the Turkish capital and called the Kurds "dogs".

On his twitter account Akgunduz wrote a series of tweets including that he is "praying for the heroes who are exterminating the dogs that dig ditches". Erik-Jan Zurcher, a professor of Turkish language and culture in Leiden, explained the tweet to Dutch newspaper AD. "With 'dogs' Akgunduz is referring to the Kurdish youth who dig trenches to defend themselves in southeastern Turkey against the army." he said to the newspaper. The "heroes" are the bombers. "So he is praying for the salvation of the bombers."

The VVD has had enough. "It can't go on like this", parliamentarian Pieter Duisenberg said to the newspaper. He can't understand how the Akgunduz can be in charge of an institution that educates Dutch students. "He is working on segregation instead of seeking a connection with the Netherlands. How can a school with this man as figurehead still have the approval of the Dutch government?"

In July the Tweede Kamer, lower house of parliament, already wanted the RUI's accreditation withdrawn. This can only be done if the quality of education at the university is inadequate. Accreditation board NAVO ruled that there is nothing wrong with the quality of education and that the accreditation will remain in tact.

Education Minister Jet Bussemaker currently has a legislative proposal in front of the Council of State that would giver her the power to intervene at institutions that do not comply with the order to social responsibility. "Once the law is in force, I will not hesitate to use its power", the Minister said.

This is not the first time that Akgunduz is under fire for hateful statements. In June, just before the recent elections in Turkey, the rector called on Turkish people to vote for the right-wing AK party on his Facebook profile. "Do not vote for gay and Armenians", he wrote. In January last year, Duisenberg also called for the IUR's accreditation to be withdrawn after a comment that could be interpreted as permission to commit violence. In 2013 Akgunduz called protesters against the Turkish government wicked and supporters of Assad, who kill Muslims.