A primary school in Amsterdam had a great idea for its kids aged 7-10 — to expose them to other cultures and religions, including a visit to a Mosque. What they learned, however, at the El Mouchidine mosque was a lesson in hate from its unhinged chairman, Mohamed Guennoun, who allegedly explained to the children that any non-believers were “dogs.”
The school officials wrote to parents apologizing for the incident: “We are shocked that during the guided tour, the mosque’s chairman told the children and chaperoning parents that non believers were dogs. We consider this statement as unacceptable since we allow our children to partake in this project to develop respect for freedom of religious choice”.
To the schools credit, it has tried to downplay the incident, noting that past visits have went well.
Yet, such statements by the chairman of the Mosque may reveal more than some slip of the tongue. The concern is that it reveals a hateful, extremist view of Islam that has taken hold in some corners of the religion, click here. To say such things to children magnifies the outrage, the very objection made repeatedly to the hateful messages of Hamas television, click here.
Mohamed Guennoun insisted that this is not what he meant. First, he says that his statement was that “Islam is good, other beliefs are also good. But if you don’t believe, that is not good, then you only eat and sleep, then you’re just like an animal, such as a dog.”
This is not a great improvement, because (while it gives a pass to other religions) it still tells the children that atheists and agnostics are dogs.
What is confusing, however, is his follow-up. Guennoun says that he was speaking about the views of extremists, not him, and how they view people who do not pray five times a day. Click here.
In fairness to the mosque, they appear to have a long history of such visits without complaints. Perhaps the solution is to put Guennoun on the cookies and milk team for the next tour.