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The Netherlands. Secret investigations in mosques. MEPs want an explanation

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The NRC daily revealed that at least ten Dutch municipalities conducted confidential research in mosques. It was reported that the initiative to conduct the research came from the national coordinator for security and counter-terrorism. The deputies are demanding explanations in this matter from the minister of justice. Some of them note that this is not the first time that a coordinator “breaks the law”.

An article appeared in the weekend edition of the Dutch daily “NRC” according to which at least ten Dutch municipalities sent employed workers from private detective companies to mosques for reconnaissance there. Their task was to obtain confidential information about Islamic organizations.

The newspaper described that the secret report contains, among other things, information about the views of the imams, data about whether they have a family, and even – how often they argue. The research – according to “NRC” – was carried out, among others, in Rotterdam and Almere in the central part of the country and in Eindhoven in the south of the Netherlands.

The “NRC” revealed that the initiative to conduct this type of research came from the municipalities’ national security and counter-terrorism coordinator (NCTV).


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One of the mosques in Rotterdam (photo from July 2021)LEX VAN LIESHOUT / PAP / EPA

The deputies demand an explanation from the minister of justice

On Sunday, a group of MPs from the coalition party D66, the opposition Greens (GL) and the Turkish minority (DENK) demanded explanations from Justice Minister Ferd Grappenhuis.

“The ease with which the government breaks the fundamental rights of (Dutch) Muslims is shocking,” said DENK MP Stephan van Baarle and said he condemns such methods.

Socialist Party (SP) MP Michiel van Nispen criticized the office of the National Security and Counter-Terrorism Coordinator (NCTV). “Seems to be another time she’s not following the law,” he said. “The minister either has no idea how the service works or approves of it, which would be even worse,” he admitted.

In April this year, the coordinator was criticized by journalists from “NRC” who informed that his ministry was using fake social media accounts to keep an eye on politicians and religious leaders. NCTW was established to coordinate the exchange of information between government agencies involved in the fight against terrorism. The coordinator at the head of the unit prepares reports and analyzes for the government.

On the other hand, the leader of the anti-immigration and populist Party for Freedom (PVV) is pleased with the research. “Very good. Mosques are not part of the Netherlands,” Geert Wilders wrote on Twitter.

Dutch parliament area (archive recordings)Reuters Archive

In the latest article, the journalists of “NRC” reported that the Dutch Data Protection Authority (AP) was also interested in the matter. He described the reports as “very disturbing”, recalling that only “in exceptional cases and under strict conditions” can municipalities follow someone.

The daily “De Volkskrant” announced on Sunday that the local justice ministry admitted that it was involved in the controversial project.

Main photo source: LEX VAN LIESHOUT / PAP / EPA

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