Netherlands: Gov't to fight foreign influences in mosques

Netherlands: Gov't to fight foreign influences in mosques

The cabinet will make it more difficult for lenders from, for example, the Middle East, to secretly obtain influence in mosques in the Netherlands, Guusje ter Horst (Labor), the Dutch minister of internal affairs, announced Wednesday.

Foundations must be more open in the future about their finances.  The cabinet will make a law proposal already this year for regulating that.  This law will also concern mosques, since most are foundations, says Ter Horst.

The parliament asked Ter Horst to study how much danger there is from foreign people or institutions who put money into mosques in the Netherlands.  The parliament fears that they sometimes do that in order to get influence, aiming to oppose integration or advance radicalization.

Ter Horst recognizes the risks, but also says that they 'shouldn't be overestimated'.  Foreign Islamic financiers mostly give money to mosques out of charity and are not out to get influence.

Due to separation of Church and State the government can do little to prevent unwanted influences in a mosques, as long as no laws are broken.  Ter Horst: "It is in particular the resilience of Dutch mosques which can limit the risks of foreign financing".

Source: Trouw (Dutch)

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