Muslim groups fear retaliation; to hold peace rally in Amsterdam
The suicide bombings in Brussels on Tuesday hit Muslims in the Netherlands just as hard as everyone else, but with the addition that they also have to worry about retaliation. Several Muslim organizations are organizing a peace rally in Amsterdam on Friday, to show solidarity and support for Brussels and Belgium.
Every jihadist attack puts Islam in the news in a bad light, which makes the majority of Muslims feel robbed of their faith. Violence is absolutely the opposite of what they consider sacred, Trouw reports. Which is why mosque umbrella organizations expressed their disgust immediately after the attacks, even before the government did so.
"These heartless beasts must be stopped immediately", Azzedine Karrat, imam of the biggest mosque in the Netherlands, tweeted. And: "May Allah protect the Netherlands and the whole world against such fanatics and right extremists who sow hate and corruption on the world."
The fear of retaliation is something all Muslims have to deal with after every jihadist attack, Abdelhamid Bouzzit, vice president of the Foundation for Islamic Organizations Region Hague, said to the newspaper. "And how again Islam and Muslims will be looked at negatively." It was recently revealed that mosques in the Netherlands are almost daily the targets of anti-Islam attacks. Bouzzit believes this will only increase after the Brussels attacks.
Several mosque and Muslim umbrella organizations are therefore organizing a peace rally on Amsterdam's Dam Square on Friday, to show their support for Belgium, the Council of Moroccan Mosques announced on behalf of the various organizations on Wednesday.
"Jew, Muslim, Christian or non-religious: every person of good will was hit by the terrible images that reached us from Brussels on Tuesday", spokesperson Said Bouharrou said, according to news wire ANP. "Terror group Daesh misuse Islam in a degrading manner, now close to our borders. Terrorists may take our brothers and sisters, but they will never be able to take away our freedom."
The organizations want this rally to send a signal to the "barbarians". "Discord and strife in our society, you will not reap. We stand shoulder to shoulder and together we make a fist of brotherhood and unity." They want to form a "human barrier for reconciliation and against terror".
The organizations will meet on Wednesday to lay down the precise details for Friday's programs. They hope that other religious and community groups will join the initiative.
Brussels fell victim to three suicide bombings on Tuesday - two at Brussels airport Zaventem and one at the Maalbeek metro station. At least 34 people were killed. More than 200 people were injured, including at least one Dutch.
Dutch politicians spoke out against the attacks. Prime Minister Mark Rutte called it a "cowardly" attack on our way of life. King Willem-Alexander spoke of another test Europe must face. All expressed sympathy and solidarity with Belgium. A number of buildings in the Netherlands were lit up in the colors of the Belgian flag on Tuesday to show support.
Terrorist organization Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attacks.