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Emmaus College, Rotterdam. Photo supplied

Teacher goes into hiding after Islamist girls allege he displayed Mohammed cartoon

In the Netherlands, in the city of Rotterdam, a teacher had to go into hiding because, according to a group of radicalized girls, he had displayed a cartoon of Mohammed in his classroom. They demanded that he take down the picture, even though it was not a drawing of Mohammed.

Published: November 9, 2020, 8:33 am

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    Rotterdam

    A photo of the offending drawing was widely shared on Instagram. … “If this isn’t removed very quickly,” writes one Instagram user, “then we’ll do something else.” According to the police, there are also online threats against the teacher.

    In actual fact, there has been a “substantial” digital investigation to hunt down the senders, the police spokesperson admitted, according to Dutch daily De Dagelijkse Standaard.

    In 2015, the teacher had put up a cartoon by Joep Bertrams about the attack on the satire magazine Charlie Hebdo. The cartoon won the Inktspotprijs that year. It features a decapitated man in a Charlie Hebdo shirt, sticking out his tongue at the jihadist who just decapitated him. The teacher tried to explain to “the girls” that it was not Mohammed, but they refused to listen to him.

    The Islamist girls wanted the cartoon taken down right away. They said the teacher was guilty of “blasphemy”. Other teachers were brought in to explain that the man in the cartoon was not the prophet, but a jihadist. It was however impossible to convince the Islamist students. The discussion became so heated that the cartoon was promptly removed from the bulletin board.

    Dutch news outlet NRC tweeted: “For five years a cartoon has hung on the wall of a classroom in Rotterdam. On Monday students demanded its removal. Now a teacher has gone into hiding.”

    The community police officer was at the school for a whole day “looking for the connection” with the students. Rector Raoul Majewski said in a statement that the conversation with the students was “hijacked by outsiders to make unfounded threats”.

    But on Thursday afternoon, PowNed journalists who were filming in front of Emmaus College were attacked by students from the school. Broadcaster Dominique Weesie told public broadcaster NOS that despite the offer to erase images, the journalists have been abused and beaten. The terrified rector did not want to comment on this incident.

    The threats are being taken very seriously in the light of the attacks in France and Austria since Dutch authorities estimate that very little is needed in this climate to trigger jihadists.

    Education Minister Arie Slob on Thursday expressed his support for the teacher and the Emmaus College. “It is terrible that the teacher had to go into hiding after a lesson on freedom of expression,” the minister wrote on Twitter. “We stand firmly behind this teacher.” But several teachers of Emmaus College no longer feel safe and the threatened teacher remains in hiding, according to sources. Worse still, says one teacher, the “girls” responsible for the smear campaign can go back to school as usual.

    On Friday morning, the Rotterdam police arrested an 18-year-old woman on suspicion of issuing death threats. A post from her on social media had incited others to “commit criminal offenses towards Emmaus College and a teacher”.

    On Sunday evening, a video surfaced of Sait Cinar shooting a large photo of Geert Wilders’ head with a firearm and declaring that it was a “cartoon”. Even apart from the man’s crime against the arts, the scene is reason enough for Geert Wilders to report it to law enforcement.

    Within 24 hours Wilders received more than 100 Islamist death threats wanting to chop his head off, pour gasoline on him, put a bullet through his head, hang him, bomb or slaughter him.

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