Foreign financing of Islamic institutions in the Netherlands

A study to assess the feasibility of conducting a comprehensive analysis

by Stijn Hoorens, Joachim Krapels, Magda Long, Tom Keatinge, Nicole van der Meulen, Kristy Kruithof, Jacopo Bellasio, Anna Psiaki, Gursel Rafig oglu Aliyev

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Funding of Islamic institutions by foreign government entities has received considerable attention in the Netherlands in recent years. Concerns have risen over the possibility that these donations may be granted under certain conditions, for example in return for influence on the daily management or religious practicing. It is difficult to say whether these concerns are justified, as little is known about size and nature of foreign funding of religious institutions. The Research and Documentation Centre (WODC) has commissioned a study to assess the feasibility of conducting a full analysis of the size and scope of foreign funding of Islamic institutions in the Netherlands and the possible conditions under which funding may be provided. This document reports on the results of that feasibility study.

RAND Europe systematically and rigorously surveyed the available information for a sample of institutions in the Netherlands (39 of a purported 450). Using public data and confidential information made available to us, some examples of foreign funding as reported in the media could be verified for individual institutions in this sample. However, we expect it will be legally and practically complicated and very resource intensive to carry out a comprehensive assessment of all ca. 450 Islamic institutions in the Netherlands. The report recommends facilitating self-reporting of foreign donations and focusing efforts and resources on the sample of non-transparent institutions. This would increase trust and transparency within the community of Islamic institutions as a whole.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    Islam in the Netherlands

  • Chapter Three

    Islam and Finance

  • Chapter Four

    Methodology

  • Chapter Five

    The feasibility of assessing the size and scope of foreign funding to Islamic institutions in the Netherlands

  • Chapter Six

    The feasibility of assessing foreign funding conditions for Islamic institutions in the Netherlands

  • Chapter Seven

    Information available in source countries

  • Chapter Eight

    Synthesis and conclusions

  • Appendix A

    Methodology

  • Appendix B

    Case study details

  • Appendix C

    List of interviewees and consulted individuals

Research conducted by

The research described in this report was prepared for Ministry of Security and Justice, Research and Documentation Centre (WODC) and conducted by RAND Europe.

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