Islamic organizations criticize Justice Min.'s ban on controversial imam

Islamic organizations are critical of the decision of Minister Stef Blok of Security and Justice to ban controversial imam Fawas Jneid from two neighborhoods in The Hague. The ban is in violation of the constitution and is part of the state's witch hunt on anyone who has a different viewpoint than that of the public opinion, the organizations wrote on Facebook, NOS reports.

Minister Blok banned Fawaz Jneid from the Hague neighborhoods of Transvaal and Schilderswijk last week. He is not allowed to preach in and around the bookstore on Cilliersstraat for a period of six months. According to Blok, the imam preaches an intolerant message that contributes to the radicalization of young people. The Hague mayor Pauline Krikke pushed for this area ban, according to the broadcaster.

In their statement the Islamic organizations write that the imam has never been convicted of incitement or spreading hatred. They call the area ban a selective anti-Islam measure that restricts the rights and freedoms of the Dutch Muslim. "Such a suppressive measure does not contribute to maintaining or promoting a harmonious society. To push dissidents into the corner through shaky legislation is counterproductive", they write.

Fawaz Jneid was previously sent away from the As-Soennah mosque in The Hague for conducting illegal marriages, the broadcaster reports. He also caused controversy by cursing murdered film maker Theo van Gogh and politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

The imam responded to the area ban against him last week. "This is the second step in the war against salafism in the Netherlands", he said to NOS. He also said that he is against extremism and that he often stops young people from going to Syria.