London: An imam has been accused of launching a ‘jihad’ against prostitutes in a city in southern Spain by encouraging women to harass and intimidate them.
The streetwalkers in Cartagena, on Spain’s southern Mediterranean coast, complained that the imam, who is now facing a restraining order to prevent him from harassing them, wants to get them off the streets.
Yazid Koudri, president of the Islamic community of Cartagena and the imam of the Ennour mosque, has been accused of sending a team of “Muslim guards” onto the streets to prevent the women from working.
Police confirm that they have received several complaints from prostitutes working in the streets around the mosque, including one woman who claimed the imam had tried to run her over in his car.
Others said the imam sent a team of his faithful onto the streets encouraging them to “insult the sex workers” and “threaten violence.”
Koudri has openly lobbied authorities to crack down on the red light district, which has emerged on several streets around the mosque in what local newspapers have termed a “jihad against prostitution.”
Last month, he presented a petition to the city hall, calling for more policing of the area. The letter had more than 200 signatures, believed to be collected from among the 300 people who regularly worship at the mosque.
“We are not against what these women do,” the Telegraph quoted Koudri as saying.
“But ask that they don’t do it in the streets where our children walk,” he stated.
Members of the mosque have reportedly been placed at the entrance to streets favoured by prostitutes to prevent any Muslim passing through.
The women complained that the act has led to a drop in clients, and the local prosecutor has applied for a restraining order to prevent the imam from going within 200 yards of the sex workers.
Prostitution is legal in Spain, although living off earnings derived from prostituting other people is not.