However, one of the two imams appointed is deemed unsuitable to offer spiritual support to both Muslim and non-Muslims personnel, say MPs.
Dutch parliament objects to Muslim army chaplain
The appointment of Moroccan imam Aydin as an army chaplain has been criticised by the MPs. Â Â According to the MPs, Aydin Â earlier called Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende a hypocrite and said he was worth less than a doormat. He is also alleged to have said that Christians are still at war with the Muslim religion.
The Dutch army was supposed to swear in its first two Muslim chaplains on Thursday. But deputy defence minister Jack de Vries was forced to postpone Ali Eddaoudi’s appointment after parliament raised questions about his political views.
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Eddaoudi, who is of Moroccan descent, wrote several opinion articles in NRC Handelsblad that some view as radical. In a 2006 article, Eddaoudi defended the right of Muslim neighbourhood stewards to refuse to shake hands with members of the opposite sex. In a 2008 article, he called prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende “a Christian and a hypocrite” and said that “Christians are still at war with Islam”.
In 2007 he wrote a column on the website maroc.nl in which he criticised the Dutch mission in Afghanistan. “The Dutch, Americans and British have no business being in the Islamic world,” Eddaoudi wrote. He called the Taliban “a proud people” that will never give up, and that more and more Dutch soldiers would come home in body bags as long as western soldiers perpetrate “violence and humiliation” against the Afghan population.
The right-wing liberal party VVD and the populist Party for Freedom (PVV) both demanded Eddaoudi ‘s resignation. But De Vries said he couldn’t simply fire Eddaoudi since he has already been appointed by the army. “We can’t just undo his appointment based on a feeling. We need a legal basis that just isn’t there,” De Vries said.
Eddaoudi was nominated for the job by the CMO, a mediator between the government and the Muslim community in the Netherlands. The CMO also nominated Suad AydÄ±n, a Turkish imam. Aydin’s appointment is not being contested.
The Dutch army already employs Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Hindhu and humanist chaplains or counselors for spiritual guidance.
De Vries will make a decision about Eddaoudi in two weeks time.