In the wake of the Paris bloodshed, Rotterdam’s mayor had harsh words for Muslims who live in the West but fail to adopt Western values. “If you don’t like freedom, for heaven’s sake pack your bags and leave,” he declared during a TV appearance. “If you do not like it here because some humorists you don’t like are making a newspaper, may I then say you can fuck off. … Vanish from the Netherlands if you cannot find your place here.” A member of Geert Wilders’ party? No, the mayor is Ahmed Aboutaleb, a Labour politician and a Muslim. He later repeated his comments at a mosque service.
Aboutaleb is new to international headlines, but he has been pushing such themes for years. “If you think this society is depraved, then go,” he said last fall, addressing those who seek to join the Syrian jihad. “Hand over your passport and risk getting bombed.” As for what drives these individuals, he rejected the stale socioeconomic excuses and correctly zeroed in on “the idea of living in a country where the word of God rules.” Equally noteworthy, while Washington was busy blaming the Muhammad-ridiculing Innocence of Muslims video for the Benghazi disaster, Aboutaleb urged Muslims to “try and see the funny side. … You can always make your own film on YouTube as a response.” Keep at it, Mr. Mayor. Your voice is needed.
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