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Muslim charity event in Netherlands called off due to visa controversy
March 4, 2015, 8:42 am

Visas for three Muslim scholars invited to speak at a charity fund-raising event in the Dutch town of Rijswijk in western Netherlands were cancelled because of "public order concerns," the Dutch cabinet told parliament on Tuesday, according to Dutch media reports.

There were seven preachers invited to the meeting, of whom five needed a visa. All five were granted a visa, but three of these visas were later cancelled on the recommendation of the counter terrorism unit, NCTV, Dutch reported on its website today.

"The visas for three preachers were withdrawn with an eye to the risk of public disorder, against a background of the unrest engendered by the meeting in Rijswijk," the cabinet was quoted saying in its briefing.

The event was organised by the Islamic foundation Rohamma and was due to be held on March 8, but the organisers have now cancelled it.

"After all the controversy that has arisen as a result of organizing the fundraiser on March 8 in Rijswijk, Foundation Rohamaa sees no choice but to cancel the benefit. It is impossible for us to organize this day as we had envisioned," it said in a statement posted on its website.

The foundation said that threats were also made to the address of one of its sponsors. "We also regret the decision of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the procedure followed by the withdrawal of the visa," it said.

A poster of the event showed the preachers but did not clarify who needed the visas or whose visas were cancelled.

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