Minister pledges to come clean on mosque funding, will publish details

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The cabinet will publish details of which mosques in the Netherlands receive money from abroad and how much they get, as far as that is possible, foreign affairs minister Stef Blok has told parliament.

Until now the information has been shared with MPs and a few mayors on the basis of confidentiality but pressure has been mounting on ministers to come clean and publish the information for the general public.

The decision follows media reports about the size of the contributions made by controversial organisations in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and the UAE.




In April, the NRC said the As Soennah mosque in The Hague has received money from a Kuwait group which is on a US terror list.

And earlier that month, the NRC and current affairs show Nieuwsuur published what they said were three secret lists detailing foreign funding for mosques in the Netherlands.

In total 30 Islamic organisation have either requested funding or actually received money from Kuwait and Saudi Arabia over the past few years, the NRC and Nieuwsuur said at the time.

Information

Kuwait and Saudi Arabia have been providing the Netherlands with confidential information about funding through diplomatic channels for some time and they have given the Netherlands the green light to share that information, Blok said. Talks with the UAE and Qatar are ongoing, the minister told MPs.

It also emerged during Wednesday’s debate that there is majority support in parliament for a ban on funding from foreign countries if it leads to ‘undesirable behaviour’.

At the end of 2015, a majority of MPs also voted in favour of such a motion, but that floundered on concerns about freedom of religion.


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