Utrecht, Netherlands - On Tuesday, political party NIDA Rotterdam requested a formal response from the mayor and city alderman in regards to Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb’s silence on the execution sentence of a democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsi of Egypt.
Utrecht, Netherlands – On Tuesday, political party NIDA Rotterdam requested a formal response from the mayor and city alderman in regards to Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb’s silence on the execution sentence of a democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsi of Egypt.
NIDA party officials understand that Mayor Aboutaleb’s authority doesn’t extend beyond the city limits of Rotterdam, however, Mayor Aboutaleb previously has not limited himself to only dealing with Rotterdam issues. In February, the mayor attended a conference at the White House. In April, he hosted Egypt’s Grand Mufti, Egypt’s religious authority, at Rotterdam’s city hall.
Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International believe that the case against former President Morsi is flawed and politically motivated. Mayor Aboutaleb’s press secretary stated on Monday that they do not see this as a “Rotterdam case”. They acknowledge that they will be responding to NIDA’s formal request.
“Before responding to the media, we want to respond to the formal request from the political party [NIDA]. After we respond we will not hold a press conference or anything like that. This is not a Rotterdam case,” said Mayor Aboutaleb’s press secretary.
NIDA party leader, Nourdin El Ouali points out that the mayor recently met with Vice-President Joe Biden, during a 4-day White House conference which focused on countering extremism. During the conference, CNN’s Michael Holmes interviewed Mayor Aboutaleb. After the Charlie Hebdo attack the mayor gave a speech that gained international attention. In his speech, he instructed extremists to leave the Netherlands if they couldn’t handle cartoons and Western society. During his interview with Holmes the mayor explained that his authority extended beyond the city limits of Rotterdam.
“I’m not only a mayor of a city, but I’m also Muslim and that gives me maybe the additional authority to say these things that maybe other colleagues of mine in Europe and maybe in the U.S. are not maybe authorized to say,” said Mayor Aboutaleb.
Grand Mufti in Rotterdam
In April, Mayor Aboutaleb welcomed Shawki Ibrahim Abdel-Karim, who is the 19th and current Grand Mufti of Egypt. The Grand Mufti was visiting the Netherlands to take part in meetings with Dutch-Muslims and non-Muslims. During these meetings he hoped to gain inspiration on how to modernize Islam. After meeting with Ronald Plasterk, the Dutch Minister of Interior, the Grand Mufti visited Mayor Aboutaleb at the city hall in Rotterdam.
Due to security issues the city hall group that met with the Grand Mufti was kept small. During the meeting the death sentence in Egypt was discussed. Egyptian law requires that all judges ask the Grand Mufti for spiritual advice when administering the death sentence.
NIDA is formally requesting that Mayor Aboutaleb use his relationship with the Grand Mufti to express his disgust towards the death sentence that former President Morsi is facing. If the sentence is carried out NIDA is demanding that the mayor implement sanctions. The party is recommending that the mayor call on the Dutch foreign minister to do the same.
“NIDA is of the opinion that if we do not act now, people will stop listening to the Netherlands and Rotterdam’s pleas for democracy and righteousness. They will see our pleas as worthless as the current state of law and democracy in Egypt,” wrote Nourdin El Ouali.
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