In a report conducted by the Dutch Intelligence Agency (AIVD), Salafists are taking over moderate Dutch mosques, sometimes by force. They conclude that Dutch imams are increasingly schooled in Saudi Arabia. By now more than half of the 22 mosques in Amsterdam are under the influence of this fundamentalist branch of Islam.

Salafism strives towards a society of pure Islam from the ages of the prophet Mohammed. It has always been assumed that Salafism was an insignificant minority within the Dutch Muslim community, but its influence has been growing exponentially. This development is connected to the growing influence Saudi Arabia has over the mosques. Saudi scholars are regularly invited to preach at Dutch mosques, and Dutch imams are more often trained at the Islamic University of Medina and preach Salafism upon their return. At this moment 40 “Dutch” imams are being trained there, and currently, thousands of Muslim students are being schooled at that university (fully subsidised, of course), to be deployed in Western societies.

Over a year ago, Amsterdam councillor Sofyan Mbarki warned about the rise of Salafism, especially in Moroccan mosques: “We’re on the verge of disaster. The atmosphere in mosques has changed from moderate Islam (…) to fundamentalist teachings.” It is now a year later and Dutch municipals are still in the phase of observing and “acting” surprised.

The Dutch news show Nieuwsuur investigated Islamic life in the Paris suburbs. There too, they concluded an explosive rise of influence of fundamentalist Islam. In the documentary, young Muslim students are being asked about Islam and among other things, a (moderate!) Muslim student says: “the separation of religion and state is costing us our freedom (…) that is criminal.”

Progressives should really start to ask themselves; does this sound like progress?