A reporter from Dutch broadcaster NOS contacted the chairman of the as-Sunnah mosque in The Hague to question him about certain incorrect statements concerning the funding for his organisation. The reporter uncovered other unpleasant surprises too.
“I was wondering if your mosque ever had contact with Saudi Arabia about funding? The secret files published by Nieuwsuur and [newspaper] NRC reveal that the as-Sunnah mosque applied for funds from Saudi Arabia, and received $350,000 from Kuwait for the distribution of Islamic books,” the reporter asked the chair.
“Here on the website of a Kuwaiti charity we find this translated biography of Muhammad and this Dutch translation of the Quran, written and published by as-Sunnah.
“But if we call the mosque to ask if it receives funding from abroad, the chairman says: ‘No! No no no no’?”
When confronted with the evidence of an incorrect statement about funding, the chairman simply ignores the damning information. Instead he speaks of their future “vision” to be “independent” financially.
“Especially after the era of Fawaz Jneid, our previous imam, it has been our vision, our goal, to fund everything ourselves, and to remain independent.”
But the NOS reporter insists: “What is going on? Why does the mosque deny the foreign donations? Are the intelligence services justified in their concern about what they call ‘the forked tongue of as-Sunnah’?” She receives no clear answer.
A closer look at the mosque’s message contained in the books it publishes and the lectures it gives as well as online activities, reveal a clear direction: back to the past.
As-Sunnah records its own sermons and publishes them on its website. It reaches a lot of young people this way. The sermons are littered with disturbing passages on women, included in a basic course on Islam for young people.
Because the course is not public, the reporter had to register under an assumed name to discover the message the mosque broadcasts.
“What we heard was incitement to commit a punishable offense,” the Dutch reporter said. “As we have stated, circumcision is obligatory for men and recommended for women.”
“I thought in the Netherlands we were past this long ago. So I don’t get it, I also can’t imagine that people listen to this. I’m really surprised that this is being reproduced in the Netherlands.
“It’s shocking that an imam, as a figure of authority, says this is recommended, and says that women are possessions who have to obey their husbands. This gives men license to oppress their wives,” the reporter added.
The imam in the mosque in the Hague apparently was inspired by Wahhabism, Saudi Arabia’s state religion, she noted.
“It is a fundamentalist version of Islam which is intolerant of other faiths. And we hear this intolerance now also in the Hague, in this sermon from 2015, and now available on as Sunnah’s website under the heading ‘education’.”
The reporter asks the chairman if calls for killing those who do not abide by Islamic laws are made freely at the mosque. “Would he [the imam] just say that, on stage, in the open?”
“Of course. First, these are the laws of Allah and I’m not ashamed of them. Second, these laws, these punishments, have a common goal. It causes fear in the hearts of the people.
“This of course in an Islamic country, by an Islamic judge,” the chairman responds, but he can give no clear definition of an Islamic country.
While preparing her report on the mosque, the Dutch intelligence service texted the journalist with new information that the as-Sunnah mosque was allegedly funded by a notorious organisation, known as the Revival of Islamic Heritage Society (RIHS).
RIHS claims to be a Kuwaiti charity organisation but is under suspicion of providing funds to al-Qaeda. Dutch intelligence believes that as-Sunnah bought the office block with RIHS money, close to the mosque, for €2 million.
As-Sunnah wants to start a large educational centre for children of all ages in the former office building. The purchase appears to be a financial transaction like any other, but documents show a car company bought it first and sold it to as-Sunnah within thirty minutes.