Yassin Elforkani, the Imam of Amsterdam’s Blue Mosque, has demanded Dutch lawmakers consider passing new legislation to ban insulting the Islamic prophet Mohammed.
Elforkani, who claimed that he condemned the recent attacks in France that left three dead in Nice this week and previously saw teacher Samuel Paty beheaded in the street, stated that a young Muslim he spoke to did not understand why insulting Mohammed was allowed under free expression.
“He said, ‘Yassin, explain this to me: if our Jewish brothers are attacked, it will soon be anti-Semitism, and it will not be allowed. I understand that. But why is insulting the prophet subject to freedom of expression?’ That got me thinking,” Elforkani told newspaper Het Parool.
“These insults of Islam create a very negative dynamic and a toxic atmosphere in society, with all the risks that entails,” he warned.
“We’re going to have to get rid of that,” he insisted, adding: “We can’t get out if we keep pointing out freedom of speech and you have to be able to say everything. It seems like a contest that can insult Islam the hardest.”
Twitter Warns Breitbart Reporter over Violating Pakistani Law with Mohammed Cartoons https://t.co/vptaR9yeQi
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) October 29, 2020
The imam rejected accusations that outlawing insults to Mohammed would be submitting to terrorism, suggesting that “Legislation and political debate are a good answer to terrorism. You send a signal: that’s how we do it in a democracy.”
In many Muslim countries, it is already illegal to insult Mohammed and can even lead to the death sentence, as in countries like Pakistan.
Earlier this week the Pakistani government sent legal notices to Twitter an attempt to have tweets removed that showed Charlie Hebdo magazine covers broadcast on a government building, as well as a tweet linking to a Breitbart London article on the incident.
Dutch firebrand politician Geert Wilders has also come into conflict with Turkish authorities over a cartoon he published on Twitter of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which made reference to a Mohammed cartoon published in 2005 by Danish newspaper Jyllands Posten.
Erdogan launched a lawsuit earlier this week claiming that Wilders had broken Turkish law by insulting him.
Turkey Prepares to Take Dutch Populist Geert Wilders to Court over Cartoon https://t.co/UA1cRUIkjA
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) October 27, 2020