A Muslim baker who moved many viewers in the Netherlands with his televised plea for coexistence and acceptance had called in the past for a genocide against Jews, Dutch papers revealed.
Rachid el Hajoui, an immigrant from Morocco who works at a pizza eatery in Tilburg, made his emotional appearance during an expose on the growing feeling of insecurity and estrangement in the Netherlands aired on the Feb. 14 evening news edition of the NOS public broadcaster, the country’s best-viewed station.
In the interview, el Hajoui confessed he feared going to mosque “because some crazy person might attack” there.
“Intelligent people incite to the most stupid actions. And stupid people do it,” he said.
El Hajoui complained about “the hateful voices” on Twitter and in the political establishment, ostensibly against Muslims.
“I stand for democracy, and I want my family and everyone to live in harmony,” he said.
But on Wednesday, the de Dagelijkse Standard conservative blog found some hateful statements by el Hajoui, whom they also discovered was once an activist for the Socialist Party and later with the progressive D66 party.
An English-language message posted on el Hajoui’s Twitter account in 2014 read: “Hitler was nothing compared to the Israelis. Someone would had to finish his work 60jr ago.” He also wrote in Dutch: “Only answer to Israel is total extermination, annihilate the cockroaches #1945 #wehateisrael.”
He also praised Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey’s authoritarian and Islamist leader, as “the only real man among Muslim leaders.”
The revelation exposed NOS to scathing criticism in other media for affording el Hajoui the opportunity to preach tolerance without addressing his past statements, which were revealed by Twitter users and bloggers who took an interest in him following the news broadcast.