"Every Muslim is a bit of a salafist": Rotterdam mayor

Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb (Picture: Twitter/@_sjgbb)Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb (Picture: Twitter/@_sjgbb)

Rotterdam mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb caused a social media uproar with an interview on NPO Radio 1 in which he said that "every Muslim is a bit of a salafist". PVV leader Geert Wilders called for Aboutaleb's resignation.

The Rotterdam mayor discussed several topics with Thijs van den Brink, but it was his statements regarding Islam that caused a commotion, AD reports. For example, he said he sometimes considers himself a jihadist. "I get up every day at 7 o'clock to do good for a city in the Netherlands. That is the jihad in its purest form." Van den Brink pointed out that this is not the form "we know in the Netherlands". To which Aboutaleb responded that there are many definitions of jihad, "of which the armed struggle is only one form". "And that also falls apart in the defense and the attack deployment", he said.

Aboutaleb is also not worried about salafism. "Salafists can also be found among Christians, if you approach it linguistically. Salaf is a progenitor, and a salafist is someone who wants to look like his progenitor. For example, a Muslim who wants to look like Mohammed. In Christianity you also have people who want to look like Christ in their actions. Every Muslim is a bit of a salafist", he said. He thinks salafism should not be banned, but the line should be drawn in the use of violence. The Salafists who want to be violent form a compact group, Aboutaleb said. "You have to track them down and isolate them."

These statements caused quite the commotion on social media, with dozens of people commenting. "The Moroccan mayor of Rotterdam Ahmed Aboutaleb calls himself a salafist", Wilders said on Twitter. "A salafist as a mayor of the 2nd biggest city of the Netherlands is a total disgrace and a threat. He should be removed from office immediately."