Charity accused of funding Muslim terrorists
3 June 2004, AMSTERDAM — The Dutch government faces questions on why it did not act earlier against a Muslim charity which has been accused of supporting terrorism.
3 June 2004
AMSTERDAM — The Dutch government faces questions on why it did not act earlier against a Muslim charity which has been accused of supporting terrorism.
On Wednesday, US and Saudi Arabian officials announced a joint crackdown on Muslim charities they accuse of aiding Islamic terrorists.
One of the groups singled out, al-Haramain, is active in the Netherlands, Afghanistan, Albania, Bangladesh and Ethiopia. The US media has reported that al-Haramain is suspected of supporting terrorism, newspaper De Telegraaf reported.
Liberal VVD MP Geert Wilders has called on the Dutch Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner and Interior Minister Johan Remkes to explain why the Netherlands did not launch its own investigation into the charity.
He has demanded that an investigation be launched now and that authorities also investigate Imam El Shershaby of the Amsterdam mosque, El Tawheed. Wilders claimed Shershaby is one of the people running the al-Haramain group.
Al-Haramain shares a postal address in Amsterdam with the El Tawheed mosque.
The mosque has been at the centre of a controversy for some time and Shershaby has been accused of preaching hate against the west and claiming non-Muslims will burn in hell.
There was a media storm in April this year when it was reported the mosque was selling books advocating female circumcision and husbands beating their wives.
Mosque board member Farid Zaari has confirmed a member of the El Tawheed board is also a spokesperson for the charity al-Haramain. The building of the mosque was partly funded by a loan from the charity.
But he flatly rejected the US claim that the charity funds or supports terrorists, and Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network in particular.
"Several months ago we received black-and-white assurances from the founder of Al-Haramain in Saudi Arabia that he and the charity distanced themselves from all terrorist groups and Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network," Zaari said.
"We had asked for this declaration following reports in the media that Al-Haramain had contacts with al-Qaeda If this had been the case, we would have had nothing more to do with him."
The Dutch security service AIVD has just completed an investigation into the alleged influence coming from Saudi Arabia on Islamic extremists in the Netherlands. Minister Remkes is expected to reveal the findings in Parliament next week.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news + Islam in the Netherlands