An investigation by the tax office into a mosque in The Hague was probably discriminatory, a court in The Hague has ruled in a landmark case.
As a result of the investigation into assumed fraudulent behaviour, the As-Soennah mosque lost its so-called ANBI status in 2018 which meant it could no longer deduct gifts from tax.
The same team which falsely accused thousands of parents of child benefit fraud based on dual nationality and gifts to mosques, carried out the investigation into the mosque, the NRC reported.
The mosque’s religious leaders took the case to court claiming the decision was based on prejudice against Islamic institutions. In his verdict the judge said “discrimination could not be ruled out” and ordered the tax office to restore the mosque’s former tax status.
The tax office refused to give an insight into the criteria used to start the investigation. “We need to know why this happened because it is not only important for us but also for the people who donated money to the mosque,” mosque leaders told the paper.
In 2022 the Dutch government acknowledged for the first time that institutional racism was a factor in the tax office’s treatment of ethnic minorities that led to excesses such as the childcare benefits scandal.
Eva González Pérez, the lawyer in the benefit scandal case, said Wednesday’s verdict was “unprecedented’ and opened the door to more legal claims of discrimination against the tax office from individuals and organisations.
“This verdict shows there is just cause,” she told the paper.
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