The mayor of Eindhoven in the Netherlands has banned seven foreign imams from addressing an Islamic conference in the city this week, a decision which the organisers attempted to appeal.
Mayor Rob van Gijzel took the decision to ban the seven foreign imams ahead of the Al Fourqaan mosque’s four day conference which is due to start on 24 December. The former Labour Party MP decided to prohibit the the preachers after he took advice from the counter-terrorism unit Nationaal Coördinator Terrorismebestrijding en Veiligheid (National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism — NCTV), reports local newspaper Eindhovens Dagblad.
A study of earlier statements from the imams from Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Kuwait conducted by NCTV discovered evidence of preaching that included elements of anti-semitism, anti-homosexuality, anti-women’s rights and hatred of infidels, as well as glorifying violent jihad and martyrdom, and trivialising terrorism.
Dutch News reports Mayor Van Gijzel wrote a letter to the mosque’s officials telling them of the visa withdrawals and saying:
“Constitutional rights are not without limit. They can be limited to protect the rights of others as well as public order.”
The mosque’s leadership brought a legal challenge against the ban to the administrative court, which was heard in an emergency session today. Their lawyer said the ban on the seven foreign imams preaching in Eindhoven breached the fundamental rights of religious freedom and freedom of expression.
In addition they attempted to argue that preachers cannot be held accountable for statements made in the past, saying that it should not be possible to gag a person solely because of what it is thought he is going to say.
The judge did not agree and today elected to uphold the mayor’s ban on the visiting preachers.