Police in Amsterdam have arrested the spokesperson of the Islamist group Sharia4Holland on charges of making death threats against the Dutch Freedom Party leader, Geert Wilders.
Abu Qasim was arrested after a speech he gave in Amsterdam's central Dam Square on May 25 (video in Dutch here), when he warned that Wilders would be "dealt with" once the Netherlands became an Islamic state.
Qasim also called Wilders "this dog of the Romans" and -- referring to the Dutch filmmaker and Islam critic who was murdered by a Dutch-Moroccan Muslim in 2004 -- warned that Wilders should learn lessons from "the case of Theo van Gogh."
Amsterdam's multiculturally-minded police initially refused to intervene in the case. Although making death threats is a criminal offense in Holland, police instead arrested a passer-by who tried to challenge the Sharia4Holland speaker.
Qasim was not arrested until three days after the event, after local politician Robert Flos, speaking on AT5 television, asked Amsterdam's left-wing mayor, Eberhard van der Laan, why city police did not intervene when Qasim threatened Wilders with death.
Qasim, a 29-year-old Islamist who lives in the central Dutch city of Woerden, is now scheduled to appear in court on July 11.
Sharia4Holland -- and its Siamese twin Sharia4Belgium -- is a radical Muslim movement that wants to impose Islamic Sharia law in the Netherlands, Belgium and the rest of Europe. Over the past several months, Sharia4Holland and Sharia4Belgium have become increasingly belligerent in their appeals to fellow Muslims to overthrow the democratic order in Europe.
Dutch Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten, in testimony to the Dutch Parliament on May 29, said that radical Muslims are becoming more provocative and activist and "there is a risk that Sharia4Holland supporters could cross the line and use violence."
In December 2011, the Dutch Intelligence Service AIVD said it was concerned about the rapid radicalization of Sharia4Holland. AIVD issued the advisory after Sharia4Belgium released a video in which the Belgian Islamist Sheik Abu Imran (aka Fouad Belkacem, who is Sharia4Belgium's main spokesman) declared that the black flag of Islamic Jihad will "soon be flying on top of all the palaces in Europe."
The December 11 video, which has been translated into English by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), shows Imran dressed in military camouflage calling for the destruction of the Atomium, a monument in Brussels that is the national symbol of Belgium.
Imran says: "This is a short message to the King of Belgium and specifically to the Muslims in Belgium. This is the flag [black flag of jihad] that, Allah willing, will soon be flying on top of that building over there [the Belgian royal palace]. There you see the flag [Belgian flag] of the Taghut [idolaters], the infidels, and soon the flag of 'there is no god but Allah' will be flying there, on top of that palace, and on top of all the other palaces in Europe, until Allah willing, we reach the White House…We will not rest, we will not stop, until this flag flies on top of that building [the royal palace]."
The video then continues from another location in Brussels -- directly in front of the Atomium. Imran says: "We can see nowadays how people are taking photos, and how people from all over Brussels and from all over Europe, come here for what is called 'tourism' and take photos of this monument. They hold on to this monument. On top, you can see the Belgian flag. This monument is a symbol of Belgium…Soon, Belgium will fall apart. May Allah disperse them and their country. Amen. Then this symbol will be useless to them."
In September, Sharia4Belgium established Belgium's first Islamic Sharia law court in Antwerp, the second-largest city in the country. Leaders of the group say the purpose of the court is to create a parallel Islamic legal system in Belgium to challenge the state's authority as the enforcer of the civil law protections guaranteed by the Belgian constitution.
The self-appointed Muslim judges running the Islamic Sharia court apply Islamic law, rather than the secular Belgian Family Law system, to resolve disputes involving questions of marriage and divorce, child custody and child support, as well as all inheritance-related matters.
Unlike Belgian civil law, Islamic Sharia law does not guarantee equal rights for men and women; critics of the Sharia court say it will undermine the rights of Muslim women in marriage and education. Sharia4Belgium says the court in Antwerp will eventually expand its remit and handle criminal cases as well.
On May 4, the Criminal Court of Antwerp convicted Imran/Belkacem to two years in prison (one of them suspended) on charges of inciting hatred against non-Muslims. Among other infractions, Belkacem was found guilty of harassing Frank Vanhecke, widower of the late Marie-Rose Morel, the former president of Vlaams Belang, a Belgian anti-immigration party. After she died of cancer in February 2011, Belkacem said her illness was "a punishment from Allah."
On May 5, the day on which the Netherlands celebrates its liberation from Nazi Germany in 1945, about 20 members of Sharia4Holland and its twin Sharia4Belgium gathered in front of the maximum security prison in the southern Dutch municipality of Vught to demand the "liberation" of Mohammed Bouyeri, the Muslim who murdered Theo van Gogh.
Sharia4Holland argued that Dutch Liberation Day is a "hypocritical festival" because the Dutch celebrate while countless "innocent" Muslims are held in their prisons. According to Sharia4Holland, these Muslims are robbed of their freedom, families and of any social contact.
Dutch prisons are, in fact, teeming with Muslim inmates. According to a recent report commissioned by the Dutch Ministry of Interior, 40% of Moroccan immigrants in the Netherlands between the ages of 12 and 24 have been arrested, fined, charged or otherwise accused of committing a crime during the past five years.
In December 2011, a mob of some 20 members of Sharia4Belgium stormed a debate in Amsterdam that was featuring two Muslim liberals, the Canadian writer and Muslim feminist Irshad Manji and the Dutch-Moroccan Green Left MP Tofik Dibi.
The mob shouted "Allahu Akbar!" ("Allah is Greater!") and threatened to break Manji's neck. Waving an Islamist jihadist flag, they then demanded that Manji and Dibi be executed for apostasy.
The debate on how liberal Muslims can prevent Islam from being hijacked by Muslim extremists was held at the De Baile venue in downtown Amsterdam, and was sponsored by the Brussels-based European Foundation for Democracy. The event resumed after police arrested several of the Islamists.
In April 2010, 40 members of Sharia4Belgium disrupted a speech about Islam by the Dutch author Benno Barnard. The lecture, entitled "The Islam Debate: Long Live God, Down with Allah!," was part of a series of talks about the Enlightenment at Antwerp University.
According to Abu Qasim, the spokesman for Sharia4Holland: "Better times will come as promised. The Muslims will [confront] this cancer of man-made laws called democracy and eradicate it. Destroy it root and branch, as far as Islam allows us, or Islam orders us to. Sharia is by far the only solution, it is the only rival left to topple democracy. Now, the Westerners and the Dutch around us and who do not know their history, they think that Sharia is something foreign…Even if the disbelievers hate it, even if the pagans hate it. Even if democrats or secularists hate it. Sharia for Holland is a given: it is a given fact."
Soeren Kern is Senior Fellow for European Politics at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos / Strategic Studies Group. Follow him on Facebook.