After the terror attacks last week in Paris, the Muslim mayor of Rotterdam took a harsh tone with Islamic hardliners in the Netherlands, essentially saying that people who take issue with certain Western ideals and satirical newspapers can "fuck off."
Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb, who was born in Morocco and immigrated to the Netherlands when he was 15, made the remark during an appearance on Nieuwsuur, a national television program. Specifically, he said Muslim immigrants who are unable to accept "humorists" creating content for a newspaper could "fuck off" — or "rot toch op"in Dutch. He also relayed the message that if any Dutch Muslims are against freedom, then "for heaven's sake pack your bags and leave."
"There may be a place in the world where you can be yourself," he said, according to the Telegraph. "Be honest with yourself and do not go and kill innocent journalists."
Aboutaleb explained that he believes Muslim immigrants who cannot find their place in the Netherlands should leave because they're bringing undue scrutiny to the Muslim population at large in the country.
Following the comments, London Mayor Boris Johnson wrote a letter in the Telegraph calling the Rotterdam mayor his "hero." Johnson said a Muslim voice was needed in order to "win the struggle for the minds of these young people."
Often referred to as a "model non-Western immigrant," Aboutaleb became the first immigrant mayor in the Netherlands in 2009. In his first interview as mayor, he addressed the country's immigrants by saying, "stop seeing yourself as victims, and if you don't want to integrate, leave."
"If I can succeed, I will be a key element in persuading immigrant communities that they can have access to power," Aboutaleb said. "If I fail, it will have huge consequences for those coming behind me afterwards."
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