Belgium Islamists call author, Dutch legislator ‘apostates’

Members of the Salafi group storm round-table discussion on reforming Islam in Amsterdam.

December 26, 2011 04:55
1 minute read.
Irshad Manji

Irshad Manji 311. (photo credit: Wikimedia )


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BERLIN – Members of the Salafi group Sharia4Belgium stormed a round-table discussion on reforming Islam in Amsterdam earlier this month and called Prof. Irshad Manji and Dutch parliamentarian Tofik Dibi “apostates.”

Under Islamic law, apostasy is punishable by death.

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According to the Brussels-based European Foundation for Democracy, 20 radical Muslims hijacked an event featuring Muslim reformists, Manji and Dibi, in Amsterdam.

The extremists repeatedly declared “takfir!” [apostate] thereby ordering the execution of Manji and Dibi.

After threatening to break Manji’s neck, they demanded the event, sponsored by the European Foundation for Democracy, be stopped.

Dibi, 31, is from the Green- Left party and is of Moroccan descent.

Manji, born in Uganda in 1968 to parents of Egyptian and Gujarati descent, was raised in Vancouver and is lesbian.


Manji is a Muslim scholar who advocates a modernized Islam. She heads New York University’s Moral Courage Project, which seeks “to develop leaders who will challenge political correctness, intellectual conformity and self-censorship.”

Manji is the best-selling author of The Trouble with Islam Today: A Muslim’s Call for Reform in Her Faith. She is in European cities to promote her latest book, Allah, Liberty and Love.

Manji said, “I never felt afraid. Not once. Neither did Tofik. In fact, all of us refused to leave, even when police asked. We wouldn’t play on jihadi terms. Some things are simply more important than fear.”

Dibi, said “the disruption shows that even in the Netherlands it is necessary to continue the debate on reforming Islam.”

Roberta Bonazzi, executive director of the European Foundation for Democracy, said “the voice of democratic Islam will not be silenced by extremism. We are united and will continue to support inspirational Muslim reformers across Europe.”

The disruption and the threats are on YouTube, which list “Sharia4Belgium” and “Sharia4Holland” as its producers.

The Salafis threw eggs at Dibi and spat on Manji, according to Dutch media.

Police arrived, and two of the protesters were arrested for issuing threats and insults.

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