Paul ter Linden, who represents the Dutch Freedom Party (PVV) on The Hague city council, responded to Küçük by saying: "In this country pet ownership is legal. Whoever disagrees with this should move to another country."
Dutch political commentators believe Küçük's declarations are a provocation designed to stir up the Muslim population in The Hague. Muslims -- who now make up more than 12% of the city's population of 500,000 -- view dogs as ritually unclean animals and Küçük's call for a ban on them is a sure vote-getter, they say.
The incident in Holland follows dog-related controversies in other European countries.
In Spain, two Islamic groups based in Lérida -- a city in the northeastern region of Catalonia where 29,000 Muslims now make up around 20% of the city's total population -- asked local officials to regulate the presence of dogs in public spaces so they do not "offend Muslims."
Muslims demanded that dogs be banned from all forms of public transportation including all city buses as well as from all areas frequented by Muslim immigrants. Muslims said the presence of dogs in Lérida violates their religious freedom and their right to live according to Islamic principles.
After the municipality refused to acquiesce to Muslim demands, the city experienced a wave of dog poisonings. More than a dozen dogs were poisoned in September 2011 (local media reports here, here, here, here and here) in Lérida's working class neighborhoods of Cappont and La Bordeta, districts that are heavily populated by Muslim immigrants and where many dogs have been killed over the past several years.
Local residents taking their dogs for walks say they have been harassed by Muslim immigrants who are opposed to seeing the animals in public. Muslims have also launched a number of anti-dog campaigns on Islamic websites and blogs based in Spain.
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