Islamic group escapes Dutch ban

31st March 2005, Comments 0 comments

31 March 2005, AMSTERDAM — A court in Amsterdam rejected on Thursday an application to ban the Islamic charity al-Haramain.

31 March 2005

AMSTERDAM — A court in Amsterdam rejected on Thursday an application to ban the Islamic charity al-Haramain.

The Dutch public prosecutor (OM) had sought the prohibition because of allegations the group supported terrorist activities.

There was an outcry in the Dutch Parliament last year after the Saudi ambassador claimed he had warned the government 12 months earlier that the charity had links to the al-Qaeda network of Osama bin Laden. But the al-Haramain charity continued to operate legally in the Netherlands.

MPs demanded that the authorities act quickly to shut al-Haramain's Dutch office down. The charity has been added the UN list of organisations accused of terrorism links.

But in its judgement on Thursday, Amsterdam Court said no evidence had been produced to show that al-Haramain supported terrorism. It noted further that the Dutch security service AIVD had not detected any activity by al-Haramain in the Netherlands for some time.

The Dutch branch of al-Haramain was established in 1995 by controversial Amsterdam imam Mahmoud el-Shershaby of the al-Tawheed mosque.

He was accused of preaching anti-western doctrines and on one occasion suggested that non-Muslims will burn in hell.

Saudi ambassador Waleed el Khereiji told newspaper 'Trouw' in June last year that he had informed the then Dutch Foreign Minister Jaap de Hoop Scheffer that the Saudi authorities had banned all of al-Haramain's overseas activities.

But because al-Haramain's office in Amsterdam was a registered charitable foundation in the Netherlands, the Saudi authorities could not shut it down.

"I said: 'It is up to your authorities to deal with it under the appropriate Dutch laws'," El Khereiji said.

The US and Saudi authorities announced a joint action last June against several organisations suspected of funding Islamic terrorists. Al-Haramain — then active in the Netherlands, Afghanistan, Albania, Bangladesh and Ethiopia — was one of the organisations on the blacklist.

This prompted Dutch MPs to call on the government to explain why it had not moved against al-Haramain at a much earlier stage.

A spokesman for the El Tawheed mosque then said the founder of the charity had given assurances it did not have links to terrorism.

Later, Amsterdam television station AT5 reported that the El Tawheed mosque was breaking its ties with al-Haramain. Also, the al-Haramain director in Amsterdam resigned from the board of the mosque.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Dutch news + Islam

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