Between 2005 and 2010, mosques in the Netherlands were defaced 117 times, according to research by social researcher Ineke van der Valk. The acts of vandalism were motivated by a hatred of Islam, the researcher is quoted as saying on national radio.
In 43 cases, the mosques were daubed with offensive symbols or slogans. In 37 instances, the mosques sustained material damage. In 99 of the incidents, the police failed to find any of the culprits.
In the United States there were 42 similar incidents during the same period. Most of the vandalised mosques in the Netherlands are located outside the major cities.
There are some 450 mosques in the Netherlands, which has a population of more than 16.5 million. Some five percent of the population is believed to be Muslim, some 44 percent Christian and over 41 percent agnostic.
As a percentage of the population, the Netherlands has Europe’s second-largest Muslim community, inferior only to France, which has a Muslim community of more than nine percent.
© Radio Netherlands Worldwide