THE HAGUE -- If Amsterdam city council bars construction of the Westermoskee mosque, a great demonstration of Turks from throughout Europe will be held. The possibility of this degenerating into violence cannot be ruled out, the Turkish organisation Milli Gorus warns.
The controversial Westermoskee in Amsterdam will be built come what may, said Fatih Dag of the Turkish mosque organisation in Trouw newspaper. If the government blocks its building, Milli Gorus will call on Turks throughout the whole of Europe to demonstrate. Dag hopes this would be a peaceful procession, but fears it could get out of hand. "Our people are emotional and someone crazy can just be walking among them," he said in the newspaper.
The building of the 42 metre tall, 18-million euros Neo-Ottoman Westermoskee was blocked months ago after Milli Gorus' orthodox German head office replaced management in Amsterdam. After that, reports surfaced that Milli Gorus had wheedled billions of euros out of Turks since the 1990s by having them invest in Islamic investment funds.
Amsterdam politicians advised against the building of the new Westermoskee in the 1990s for fears of the orthodox course, but after much lobbying, the project was last year dubbed a symbol of integration by the then Justice Minster Donner, who laid the foundation-stone. Last week, it was made known that municipal authorities and Milli Gorus had suspended their cooperation on the building anyway.
If the licence for the mosque is definitively withdrawn, this would be "extremely foolish," warns Dag. "I will then immediately call for a demonstration. If every Milli Gorus mosque in Europe sends a bus, it will certainly be busy. I have not tipped off Al Jazeera, but they will certainly get wind of it, and I will speak to them. That will go out to the entire Arabic world, cross my heart. All Muslims have a satellite dish, so they will see that a beautiful project for Muslims is being forbidden here."
"Do not forget", added Dag in Trouw, "that we began the project with a number of Turks, but with all the hindrance, it has now become a matter for many Muslims throughout the Netherlands. I expect a revolt among them, naturally within the legal boundaries, but still: Our people are more emotional than you Europeans. And there can be a crazy person among them."
Amsterdam's Mayor Cohen declined to comment on the apparent threats by Dag. According to his spokesman, the mayor does however want to hear "what is going on" personally from Dag.