Changing policies towards alleged extremist groups

The Dutch government announced after the murder on Van Gogh to expel several extremist imams. The Dutch intelligence and security agency (AIVD) is keeping an eye on six
suspicious Islamic groups. This week three imams van Al-Fourqaan mosque in Eindhoven were given notice that they had to leave the country because they were, as minister Verdonk of Integration stated in the 8 o’clock news:

radicalizing Muslims and stimulating them to Jihad. They call for a holy war and in a war their will be victims and we can not tolerate that in the Netherlands.

The groups, of which the Al-Fourqaan mosque is one of them, have been earlier described as “mosque organisations with an outspoken Salafist character originating from a mission and finance from Saudi Arabia”. This can be read in a report by the AIVD, called Saudi influences in the Netherlands (PDF file). You can read the following in this report:

The Netherlands has several mosque foundations of a straight Salafist persuasion. These are the result of missionary and funding activities carried out from Saudi Arabia. These foundations are the El Tawheed Foundation in Amsterdam, the As Soennah Foundation � Centre Sheikh Al Islam ibn Taymia in The Hague, the Islamic Centre Al Fourkaan Foundation in Eindhoven, the Mosque Al Mouahidine Foundation (Omar ibn Khattab Mosque) in Helmond, the Foundation for Islamic Youth in Breda and the Islamic Foundation for Education and Transfer of Knowledge in Tilburg. The involvement of large Saudi missionary organisations can most clearly be seen with four of these mosques. At the Tawheed mosque in Amsterdam there is a financial, organisational and personal intertwinement with the organisation referred to above, Al Haramain, whereas in case of the Fourkaan mosque in Eindhoven, the Al Mouahidine mosque in Helmond and the Foundation for Islamic Youth in Breda there is a clear intertwinement with the private (but, also, closely associated to persons within the Saudi establishment) missionary organisation Al Waqf Al Islami Foundation. Besides these mosques which can be characterised as explicitly Salafist, there are several others (probably up to several dozen) that are less easy to typify as such, but which also receive financial support from Saudi charities, private benefactors or government bodies. Although not explicitly Salafist, as a result of the very orthodox
message propagated these mosques attract certain groups of Muslims that can be characterised as Salafist, a designation which they often use themselves. This was for example the case with the Foundation Mosque Annasr in Rotterdam, to which Salafists are drawn because of the sermons and personality of the imam preaching there. As regards the financial support for these mosques from Saudi Arabia it should be noted that it is not necessarily a matter of formal financing of mosque foundations, but rather allowances to specific persons (in particular imams). Especially the large Saudi NGOs Muslim World League and Al-Haramain have �branches� in the Netherlands. These are the Muslim World League Foundation the Netherlands and the Al Haramain Humanitarian Aid Foundation in Amsterdam. The former head of the parent office of Al-Haramain in Saudi Arabia, Aqeel al Aqeel and his assistant Mansour al-Kadi, in the past also acquired board positions in the El Tawheed Foundation and the Al Haramain Humanitarian Aid Foundation in Amsterdam, in exchange for financing to build the Tawheed mosque in Amsterdam. The AIVD does not have any indications that the two board members actually used their influence to become involved in the daily running of the Tawheed mosque. In practice, the involvement of the two was restricted to formal yearly inspections.

To expel the three imams of Al Fourqaan can be seen as a first attempt to confirm the change of policies in the Netherlands. Their lawyer stated today that, according to him and what he has read in the AIVD-notes, these people are not accused of preaching Jihad and/or radicalizing young people. These AIVD-notes are not official judicial documents but experts expect that they will be allowed, the more because in this specific case they will not be tried in a penal court but in an administrative court because their permit to stay is the topic of discussion. This will shift the burden of proof more to the imams.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *