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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 February, 2005, 14:01 GMT
Muslim anger at Dutch imam plan
By Geraldine Coughlan
BBC News, The Hague

Mosque in Helden
Mosques have been targeted since Theo van Gogh's murder
A Muslim group in the Netherlands has complained it was not consulted before the government backed university plans to start training imams.

There has been fierce debate about the integration of Muslims in the Netherlands in the last few years.

It intensified last November with the murder of the film-maker Theo van Gogh by a suspected Muslim extremist.

The Free University in Amsterdam says its training is to promote integration of Muslims into Dutch society.

But the Liaison Group, Muslims and Government object that it was not asked first for its own proposals for a training course.

The group plans to hold a conference on the matter later this month.

Temporary work

Most of the imams working in the Netherlands are recruited from Turkey and Morocco by mosques here to work temporarily.

The government feels this sets a bad example for the Muslim community because the clerics are not integrated into Dutch society.

The Free University's Master's degree in Islamic spiritual guidance starts this year with a 1.5m euro (1.05m) government subsidy.

It will cover Christianity and Dutch culture, as well as Islam.


SEE ALSO:
Dutch Islamic school set ablaze
09 Nov 04 |  Europe
Dutch step up Muslim protection
08 Nov 04 |  Europe


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