A third of the mosques in the Netherlands have experienced at least one incident of vandalism, threatening letters, attempted arson, the placement of a pig’s head, or other aggressive actions in the past 10 years, according to research by Ineke van der Valk, an author and researcher at the University of Amsterdam.
As reported by Al Jazeera, Azzedine Karrat, the imam at the Essalaam mosque in Rotterdam, is worried.
“I’m worried, but it is not about me or the mosque, but about Muslims in general. I am worried about the situation in the country. It says something about the dislocation in the Netherlands. It is not a message that brings people together,” the imam said.
Like many Muslims, he thinks that the threats and attacks on mosques are a result of fear and frustration among the non-Muslim population following the attacks in Paris in November.
Around 220 Dutch Muslims are believed to have travelled to join armed groups such as Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. According to Al Jazeera, this is raising fears that they might carry out attacks in the Netherlands when they return.
An initiative to register the motives behind attacks and discrimination towards Muslims in the Netherlands came from Ahmed Marcouch, a member of the House of Representatives for the Dutch Labour Party.
In an interview with Al Jazeera, he said: “We are likely to see an increase in the number of incidents because people have been made more aware of the problem, partly thanks to social media, and are encouraged to report such incidents. In the past, imams would have maybe thrown away such a letter without reporting it.”