Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) in Los Angeles, visited the Netherlands last week to speak with leading politicians, top terror experts and Jewish community leaders about internet hate and incitement to terror. Rabbi Cooper, during whose visit the terror attacks at the Boston marathon took place, said that in the past, the SWC had already exposed Al Qaeda’s promotion of sealing explosives in pressure cookers, as was the case in Boston.
He also warned his counterparts that the SWC had discovered that the site of an extremist Dutch Muslim organization, Sharia4Holland links to a Fatwa of the Salafist Sheikh Abu Al-Mundhir Al-Shanqiti. In it, this prominent Muslim religious leader permits terror attacks against churches and synagogues if they are against Islam.
Though the sheikh does not explicitly call for this, fanatics can read between the lines and understand what is expected of them. In an interview with the largest Dutch daily de Telegraaf, Rabbi Cooper stated that this Fatwa means that such attacks can also take place in the Netherlands.
The Dutch government does not provide any financial assistance to assure security for Dutch Jewish institutions, despite the threats and the community’s repeated requests for this assistance. The safeguarding of its members has thus become a heavy burden for the small organized community.
During his visit Rabbi Cooper, accompanied by former Dutch Parliamentarian Wim Kortenoeven, met Deputy Prime Minister Lodewijk Ascher. He mentioned to Ascher and other politicians that from a German study carried out on behalf of the Social Democratic Friedrich Ebert Foundation it was found that more than 38% of the Dutch people believe that Israel is conducting a war of extermination against the Palestinians. He said that this and other types of extreme demonization of Israel and Jews should be a matter of concern for Dutch authorities and society and asked them to combat this.
Rabbi Cooper also discussed the plight of Mehmet Sahin, the Dutch Turkish volunteer worker who opposed Dutch Turkish youngsters who praised the Holocaust, Hitler and the killing of Jewish babies on television.
After being verbally attacked and receiving death threats, Sahin was forced into hiding. The Simon Wiesenthal Center has received hundreds of letters of support for Sahin from people all over the world.