Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Advanced weaseling

The Amsterdam As-Soenah mosque, which hit the Dutch news last week for threatening a Dutch comedian with death, despite fervent efforts at Taqiya by Muslim Alderman Aboutaleb, keeps tongues wagging and keyboards tapping.

Ewout Jansen, son of Hans Jansen the Arabist made jokes about religion and religious people. He aimed his show mostly at Christians. Christians are utterly tame these days, to their detriment. But he fired some shots at the Muslims as well.

Student newspaper asked for the view of the imam, Mohammed Bouljhaf, of the As-Soenah mosque and through someone who introduced himself as Mr. Kabli, the interpreter / spokesman of the mosque conducted an interview with the imam. After the interview, Mr. Kabli said that a serious Muslim should hur or kill those who insult Islam or Muslims.

Alderman Aboutaleb visited the mosque and issued a statement that Mr. Kabli was just a coincidential passerby of the mosque. He has no official status. Of course that is true. A Muslim community is represented by the Mosque council elders, who are elected by the members of the community, just as in most Protestant Churches. The elders appoint the imam, who instructs and guides the pack. No interpreters / spokesmen.

Ewout Jansen, the comedian/student also visited the mosque, spoke with imam, the elders and Driss El-Boujoufi, the chairman of the union of Moroccan mosques in The Netherlands and was treated to tea, honey and figs. Then he asked for a statement that it was not the duty of Muslims to kill those who insult Islam and Muslims (Dutch). He was told he need not worry and that it was illegal to murder people in The Netherlands. Jansen did an unusual thing. Instead of being satisfied with this statement, he pressed the imam for a fatwa unequivocally stating that those who insult Islam and Muslims need not be killed by the pious. On camera. Mr. Jansen said: "I do not just want this assurance with regards to the members of As-Soenah, but a statement so that I will not be killed by any Muslim in The Netherlands because one of them things it is a law".

The imam and Driss El-Boujoufi said they could not give such a statement, that they had no authority and had to consult more important people in the Muslim world.

So they had dissembled when they gave assurances that he should not be killed according to Islam. Instead of it being a clear-cut issue it turned out to hang in the balance. Perhaps Ewout Jansen and others who insult Islam must not be killed. Perhaps they must be killed. Grey area. The As-Soenah mosque now has four weeks to come up with a definite answer.

They also said that Mr. Kabli had been rapped, that he was just one of a hundred volunteers that work for the mosque.

That again has turned out to be dissembly. It turned out from the records of the Amsterdam chambre of commerce that Mr. Kabli was one of the elected elders of the As-Soenah mosque (Dutch) in the 80ies and 90ies.

In the next few weeks this affair will keep on bringing out interesting insights on "Living with Islam".

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