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At least someone has some sense.
Dutch MP seeks closure of Œextremist' mosques
By Ian Bickerton in Amsterdam
Published: November 11 2004 21:46 | Last updated: November 11 2004 21:46
A rightwing Dutch MP forced into hiding a week ago following death
threats from Islamic radicals on Thursday called for the closure of
mosques he claimed had been identified as home to Muslim extremists.
Geert Wilders, whose controversial views have led to comparison with Pim
Fortuyn, the anti-immigrant academic murdered in 2002, re-emerged in
parliament to criticise measures ann-ounced by the government on
Thursday in response to the murder of filmmaker Theo van Gogh.
The measures include laws to allow the closure of mosques if they engage
in activities contrary to public order. The government will also have
powers to strip dual-nationals of Dutch passports and boost resources
for security services.
Mr Wilders, whose popularity has soared since he quit the liberal VVD
party to pursue a hard-right path, said 15 to 20 of the country's 200
mosques should be ³closed tomorrow² as they had already been identified
by the authorities as having links to extremists.
He also criticised ³failures² of the government's intelligence service,
which a 60-page report presented to parliament on Thursday revealed had
tracked an extremist group based in the Netherlands since 2002.
Members of that group regularly gathered at the home of Mohammed B, a
26-year-old Dutch-Moroccan who has since been charged with the murder of
Mr van Gogh and with membership of a group with terrorist intentions.
The report said the intelligence service had had no indication that the
suspect posed a threat.
Dutch intelligence operatives had tracked the group of Muslims of North
African origin called the ³Hofstadnetwerk², or ³capital network² because
it is mainly based in Amsterdam from Pakistan, where some members
allegedly trained for jihad, to Portugal.
It had linked it to theMay 2003 bombings in Casablanca, Morocco, in
which 45 people died, and suspected it of planning an attack at the
summer's European football championship, in Portugal.
The report also said the intelligence service had warned of growing
radicalisation of elements of the Dutch Muslim community since the
mid-1990s. Among the mosques Mr Wilders said should be shut is
el-Tawheed, in west Amsterdam. It is named several times in the
intelligence report and was established with a loan from a Saudi-based
charitable foundation suspected by US officials of being a conduit for
al-Qaeda funds. Mosque officials have denied any such connection. Mr
Wilders' demands come after a week of attacks on mosques by
anti-immigrant proponents sparked by the murder of Mr van Gogh.