Reason for investigation
On 5 March 2019, the House of Representatives adopted a motion proposed by Mr Van der Staaij and Ms Karabulut asking the Presidium to prepare a proposal for a parliamentary inquiry. The House of Representatives had been debating undesirable funding and the extent of undesirable influence for some time, but there was still a great lack of clarity around the issue. The investigation was to focus not only on gaining insight into what influence actually takes place, but also on possible solutions and measures to counteract undesirable influence.
The Standing Committee on Social Affairs and Employment (SZW) was instructed by the Presidium to prepare the investigation proposal. This committee formed a preparation group comprising members of the standing committees on Foreign Affairs and Justice & Security. The preparation group concluded that a broader investigation was necessary than was specified in the motion. An expert meeting, held during the preparation period, showed that influencing mosques is not only conducted through lines of funding; it also involves goods and services. Examples include paying salaries, financially supporting students, facilitating buildings, offering study programmes, study materials, educational programmes (including irregular ones), lectures/conferences, translations or, for instance, ensuring that representatives sit on a mosque board. The aim of the investigation is now to answer the following question: What is the undesirable influence exerted on social and religious organisations in the Netherlands, such as mosques, by unfree countries and how can this influence be disrupted?
The preparation group has proposed that a parliamentary inquiry should be carried out. This short-term form of parliamentary inquiry makes it possible to question witnesses and experts under oath. The public hearings are expected to take place in February 2020. In April 2020, the report of the parliamentary inquiry will be presented to the House of Representatives.