El-Moumni told a television current affairs programme last week that homosexuality was a dangerous sickness and said society was threatened with extinction if gays were permitted to wed.
"Homosexuality does not remain restricted to the people who have this disease," he said. "If this disease spreads, everyone could become infected."
The leaders of the Netherlands' four biggest mosques, quoted in the daily newspaper NRC Handelsblad appeared to endorse his view.
One of the imams branded homosexuality "shameless, improper, scandalous and intolerable", while another said medical treatment was the only solution, according to the NRC.
At El Tawheed mosque, considered by many people to be the epicenter of extremism in Amsterdam, Farid Zaari, the mosque's spokesman, argues that pressure from the debate has hindered the Muslim community's ability to control its radical youth.
The mosque was previously associated with a Saudi-based charity, Al Haramain, which American and Saudi Arabian officials accused earlier this year of aiding Islamic terrorists. The mosque has since severed its ties with the charity, but more recently it has been criticized for selling books espousing extremist views, including female circumcision and the punishment of homosexuals by throwing them off tall buildings.
Several legislators have called for the mosque to be shut down, but under the Dutch constitution it is difficult to do.
hope our gay friends in Holland realize that it's a bit too soon to declare victory and go home, now that they've won their legal battles. Winning the hearts and minds of the people will be a much more challenging task.
--->Warm as male friendships among Moroccans may be, the western concept of homosexual love is unthinkable here. Most Moroccans will not condemn you for being gay, but rather pity you as they would pity someone who has an uncurable disease.
Holding the EU's rotating presidency, the Dutch could have inserted the outrage into the leaders' business as a signal assault on everyone's liberty. After all, hadn't Gerrit Zalm, chairing a cabinet meeting here as vice prime minister the same day, chosen a tone of international emergency (for home consumption at least), issuing a declaration of "war," and a promise to "ratchet up the battle and make radical Islamic movements disappear from the Netherlands"?
No matter, Europe talked about other things.
Yet the future integration of its Muslim populations, quite reasonably, is the subtext to just about everything Europe thinks and does these days. If the subject is Iraq or education or job training, the reaction of tens of millions of Arabs, Turks and Pakistanis within Europe's borders stands as a largely unspoken but constant consideration.
All the same, the center-right Dutch government, confronted with a killing meant to scare people away from an open discussion, decided to avoid insisting Europe focus on it. Could this have been reasonable?
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