Milli Görüş, a Turkish mosque organization in the Netherlands, has taken dozens of Turkish-Dutch youngsters to Turkey in recent years to have them taught by Nureddin Yıldız, a radical imam, the Dutch NRC daily reported on Friday.
Since 2013 various trips have been organized to Yıldız’s Turkish education center, according to flyers, photos and reports published online. Yıldız supports the jihad in Syria and legitimizes violence against women.
Dutch parliament members last week expressed concern about a Turkish government plan to establish weekend schools in the Netherlands focused on Turkish language, history and religion. The legislature fears that Turkey is trying to maintain its hold on the Turkish-Dutch population.
But Turkish-Dutch people also go to Turkey for education at radical Islamic schools.
Milli Görüş is a mosque association founded to Islamicize Turks. The association includes 50 organizations and some 15,000 supporters in the Netherlands. The organization, rather strongly anti-Western, according to research, has adjusted its objectives and will now strive for the integration of Islam into the democratic Dutch society.
In Turkey Milli Görüş is known for the radical preachers affiliated with it, including Yıldız. He has his own educational foundation in İstanbul, Sosyal Doku Vakfı. In his statements, Yıldız has mentioned notorious al-Qaeda leader in Syria Abdullah Al-Muhaysini, who, according to him, deserves support from Muslims. Yıldız also has ties to the armed jihadist group Ahrar al-Sham.
Milli Görüş youth associations in the Netherlands, including those in The Hague, Schiedam, Rotterdam and Deventer, distribute comments made by Yıldız and translate his lectures. “Training camps” are also organized by the Turkish association.
Yıldız and fellow imams told young people that Muslims worldwide must be in “unity” according to reports on the training camps, which were in operation until at least 2016. Whether Milli Görüş still organizes the trips to Turkey is unknown. A spokesman for the association did not respond to questions last week.
Yıldız has long maintained a warm relationship with the Turkish establishment. He was a regular speaker for a foundation led by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s son. But at the beginning of this year Yıldız overplayed his hand. The imam said in a video that you can marry a 6-year-old child and that God “allowed men to beat women.” A Turkish prosecutor started an investigation for hate speech, and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was forced to distance himself from Yıldız. The president said in a speech that “there is no place in our religion for this kind of preacher.”
Municipal authorities in areas where Milli Görüş is effective are anxious about the ties between the mosque organization and the Turkish preacher. They say they are worried but see no sufficient reason to intervene.