Press Statement – “We will not leave”: Muslim reformers to extremists
– On 7 December 2011, twenty radical Muslims hijacked an event featuring Muslim reformists, Irshad Manji and Tofik Dibi, in Amsterdam.
The extremists repeatedly declared “Takfir!”, thereby ordering the execution of Manji and Dibi. After threatening to break Manji’s neck, they demanded that the event, sponsored by the European Foundation for Democracy, be stopped.
The speakers refused to leave the stage. Their discussion on the modernisation of Islam resumed after the police arrested a number of the extremists. Stated Manji, “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.”
Emphasized Dutch MP, Tofik Dibi, “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, added “the voice of democratic Islam will not be silenced by extremism. We are united and will continue to support inspirational Muslim reformers across Europe.” By bringing together two such reformers at the Amsterdam event, the European Foundation for Democracy is pursuing its mission of empowering liberal Muslims who advocate the values of open societies.
Irshad Manji is in Europe to promote her latest book, Allah, Liberty and Love. Manji, a practicing Muslim, is also the author ofThe Trouble With Islam Today. As part of her tour she is meeting fellow Muslim reformists, youth activists and parliamentarians in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany.
The radicals are believed to be members of Sharia4Belgium, one of several Islamist groups seeking to enact Sharia law throughout Europe.
(europeandemocracy.org / 08.12.2011)