Mosques in the Netherlands which receive funding from outside the EU will have to open their books to local mayors and the public prosecution department if new measures to combat undue foreign influence become law.
Justice minister Sander Dekker sent the draft legislation to parliament on Monday. It says mosques which refused to comply with the legislation would be considered to be committing an economic crime and face fines, and their executives could be sent to jail.
The draft legislation follows publication of a report in June which said many mosques in the Netherlands are being funded by foreign organisations seeking to promote a hardline, anti-democratic version of Islam.
In addition, the current coalition cabinet’s coalition agreement included a pledge to limit money coming into mosques from restrictive Muslim countries which would, the draft legislation said, be abusing Dutch freedoms.
The draft legislation would give mayors, prosecutors and ‘other specified government institutions’ the right to intervene if public order is under threat because of ‘problematic’ behaviour by the organisations concerned.
They would be able to question mosque boards about foreign gifts and ask about the identity of the donor if substantial sums are involved.
‘Foreign money which is aimed at facilitating or pressuring organisations to incite hatred, discrimination and anti-democratic ideas have no place here,’ Dekker said. ‘Organisations which are open to such donations cannot get away with it.’