The mayor of an ethnically diverse European city has earned the praise of London mayor Boris Johnson after expressing exasperation with fellow Muslims who failed to appreciate the freedoms enjoyed in the Western world, telling them to “pack your bags”.
Speaking to the NewsHour current affairs programme just hours after the Charlie Hebdo shootings in Paris, Mayor Aboutaleb became angered by the failure of some Muslims to adapt to their new homes, as he himself had done.
Mayor Aboutaleb said: “It is incomprehensible that you can turn against freedom… But if you don’t like freedom, for heaven’s sake pack your bags and leave.
“There may be a place in the world where you can be yourself, be honest with yourself and do not go and kill innocent journalists. And if you do not like it here because humorists you do not like make a newspaper, may I then say you can f*** off.
“This is stupid, this so incomprehensible. Vanish from the Netherlands if you cannot find your place here. All those well-meaning Muslims here will now be stared at”.
Aboutaleb, a Moroccan-born Muslim and former journalist took up the office of Mayor in 2008 now presides over one of a number of European cities where ethnic minorities and non-natives make up over half of the population. Although his appointment as mayor was criticised initially by anti-Islam parties in the Netherlands, who demanded he give up his dual Moroccan citizenship, he has since worked to prove his worth.
Angering his initial power-base among the cities Muslim voters, Aboutaleb has been unafraid to speak his mind on the importance of Dutch values and integration. After supporting the firing of a Muslim member of his cabinet for apparently supporting the Iranian government, fellow Mororcan and Rotterdam citizen Abdel Hafid Bouzidi, 30, said of the mayor in 2009: “He goes too much to the right”.
In 2004, Aboutaleb told Muslims if they didn’t subscribe to Dutch values they should “catch the first plane out”.