Last updated March 1, 9:11
ENSCHEDE – “Madness. You do not do such things.” Neighbors of Allah’s House in Enschede have nothing good to say about the men who on Saturday tried to set fire to the mosque.
“Who would do such a thing. Incomprehensible,” Kim says indignantly. “We have absolutely no problems with the mosque and its visitors. If something is planned in the mosque they always inform us. And we are also always welcome. Our children sometimes play there. We suffer more from the reformed church next to the mosque. The visitors of the church are much cheekier and park their cars all over our doorsteps.”
Gerrit nods. He works as an international driver and has nothing to do with religion, he says. “I think you should value everyone. But during my work I notice that the aversion rises against Islam. Whether I drive in the Netherlands, Germany, or Scandinavia, everywhere I hear that people are afraid that too many Muslims might come. I also feel that precisely because of this Turks and Moroccans retreat more into their own communities.”
Mohammed Draoui, board member of the mosque, stresses that the Muslim community is very open. “We try to involve all people around. Everyone is welcome. Tours are crowded.” He added action to his words and spontaneously showed us the mosque. In the hallway are some thirty shoes in a rack. The owners pray.
“What happened affects us tremendously,” says Draoui. “A few years ago there was arson as well. It is so unfortunate that people who have questions about Islam do not bother to come to our mosque and have a conversation with us. What makes us feel good is that we have had many reactions from local residents who find it horrible what happened.”