THE HAGUE, Netherlands (JTA) — A Dutch government employee who said the ISIS terrorist group was a Zionists conspiracy has been suspended pending further disciplinary steps.
Dutch Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten announced the decision about Yasmina Haifi, a former project manager for the ministry’s Cyber Security Center, on Friday, the news agencies ANP and Novum reported.
On Wednesday, Haifi wrote on Twitter: “ISIS has nothing to do with Islam. It’s part of a plan by Zionists who are deliberately trying to blacken Islam’s name.”
She later removed the statement, citing work-related “sensitivity.” Two rightist lawmakers for the VNL faction said they would query the justice ministry as to whether employing Haifi posed a security threat.
Commenting on Haifi’s statement, Vice Premier Lodewijk Asscher said: “When I heard it it made me sick to my stomach.” Asscher is a member of Dutch Labor, or PvdA, which is also Haifi’s party, according to her personal profile on the social network LinkedIn.
On Friday, Opstelten said: “She will not be returning to this function, not ever,” adding he was “shocked” by the contents of her message. Her statement, he also said, was “incompatible with her responsibilities” and “therefore she was removed. She is not the right person for this job.”
He added: “This is not about what anyone’s own beliefs are but about what one expresses, as a civil servant.”
Haifi’s comments came amid a polarizing public debate in the Netherlands about ISIS following three rallies over the past month in The Hague that featured ISIS flags. Two of the rallies also featured calls to kill Jews and in the third protesters hurled stones at riot police.