Rotterdam mayor gets extra protection after death threat

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

Rotterdam mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb is under extra security due to a death threat he received after a city council debate on Thursday, June 15th, he said on NOS World Cup program Studio Russia on Sunday.

"It was because of a debate with DENK over Pegida. I decided not to ban Pegida but to let them demonstrate. That same afternoon there was a serious death threat", Aboutaleb said. Aboutaleb was on his way home when he received the threat. He decided not to return to the city hall that day, and had to be replaced at the next city council meeting. "It is very annoying when you are confronted with this while you are doing your work and trying to do the right thing."

Anti-Islam movement Pegida planned to roast pork in front of mosques in five Dutch cities during Ramadan. Aboutaleb was the only mayor to allow this demonstration, the other four banned it, but gave Pegida the option to demonstrate elsewhere. Pegida eventually decided to cancel the barbecue at the Laleli mosque in Rotterdam. A Turkish minister criticized Aboutaleb for allowing the demonstration. But according to the Rotterdam mayor, freedom expression means that every opinion may be expressed, even if you don't like it. 

Aboutaleb reported the threat to the police, as he always does when he is threatened. This happens quite often, though he usually doesn't make it public, he said to NOS. The subject was raised in the program due to serious racist threats against a Swedish footballer at the World Cup.