Minister: Sharia4Holland might use violence

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Outgoing justice minister Ivo Opstelten has told parliament “There is a risk that Sharia4Holland supporters could cross the line and use violence.” His remarks were in response to questions by the Freedom Party, after a man was arrested at the weekend following a hate speech.

A small group of Sharia4Holland members gave a speech in Dam Square in Amsterdam on Friday. A spokesperson for the group called Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders “this dog of the Romans”, who will be “dealt with” once the Netherlands becomes an Islamic state. He also warned lessons should be learnt from "the Theo van Gogh case", referring to the Dutch filmmaker and Islam critic who was murdered in 2004.

Sharia4Holland is a small radical Muslim movement which wants Sharia law introduced in the Netherlands. The movement is an offshoot of Sharia4Belgium. According to the justice minister, the group makes provocative remarks against lapsed Muslims and what they see as decadent Western society. The minister says their remarks about the use of violence are ambiguous and the group is becoming more provocative and activist.

The Freedom Party called for a ban on Sharia4Holland. However, it is impossible to ban the group as it is not a legal entity. Nevertheless, members of the group can be prosecuted if they commit an offence.

The spokesperson for Sharia4Holland, a 29-year-old man from Woerden, was arrested on Sunday. He is accused of making threats aimed at Geert Wilders. He was released a day later and will appear in court at a later date. The arrest took place after a local councillor criticised the police handling of the incident. On Friday, a passer-by was arrested when he challenged the Sharia4Holland speaker.

(nc/imm)

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