Dutch gov't to tackle foreign donations, influence on mosques
The government came up with a plan of action to tackle problematic behavior caused by unwanted foreign influence on social and religious organizations in the Netherlands. The intentions and goals of people donating money to Dutch organizations will be more intensely investigated, and more effort will be put into making target groups in the Netherlands more resilient to this influence, the government said on Monday.
This plan was made based on the findings of an investigative committee tasked to look into undesirable influences from unfree countries. The committee concluded that such influence can have major consequences for the Islamic communities in the Netherlands and for Dutch society as a whole, for example by turning people against government organizations or other citizens.
"The cabinet shares this concern. According to the cabinet, foreign influence is undesirable if it leads to problematic behavior, radicalization, or in extreme cases, violent extremism," the government said.
To get more information on which organizations are funded from abroad, the government will share information via diplomatic channels about funding applications from the Netherlands. More investigation will be done to gain insight into the objectives to those funding Dutch organizations, to see what influence they try to exert on communities in the Netherlands.
The Social Organizations Transparency Act, which will soon be submitted to parliament, will give mayors and the Public Prosecution Service the authority to inspect all donations from outside the EU or EEA. Organizations and directors who refuse to cooperate with such inspections could face a board ban. The government is also looking into freezing certain money flows, for example freezing the financial resources of organizations that incite hatred and discrimination.
On a more local front, the government will make target groups more resilient against foreign influence, for example by strengthening mosque boards, improving the quality of informal training, and starting a Dutch imam training program. "When organizations are better anchored in the Netherlands, they can function independently and without foreign influence," the government said.