A controversial Islamic foundation organising festivals with imams accused of being hate preachers has won a court case which gives it back its charity status, making it eligible for tax deductions, with a judge saying it was not proven that their activities "were not done for the public good."

 

According to the decision of the court in The Hague, in the Netherlands, inviting radical Imams to a charity gala is no reason for the Dutch authorities to revoke their status as a charity.

 

The Rohamaa foundation got its charity status revoked in 2015 after Dutch media reported that seven foreign Imams were to visit an event in the town of Rijswijk. There are conflicting reports over whether the event took place, with some saying that it was cancelled and others saying it was simply moved elsewhere.

 

The foundation said the charity gala was geared towards fundraising for war victims in Syria, although the Dutch authorities and media were doubtful that this was the case.

 

An investigation by the Dutch tax authority pointed at the foundation not having their books in order, casting doubts over whether all the funds went where they were supposed to.

 

Yet the court said the investigation had not been thorough enough, with the tax authority not even bothering to translate the invoices, which were mostly written in Arabic, according to reports.

 

The judge said: "The overlap with a certain religious belief does not mean that Rohamaa's activities were not done for the public good."

 

Christian-Democratic MP Pieter Omtzigt said it was ridiculous for the foundation to be eligible for tax deductions which "not even an amateur football club gets."

 

Liberal MP Malik Azmani said that Rohamaa must be tackled by the Dutch authorities.

 

He said: "If it will not work in an appeal, then maybe we should change the law."

 

Azmani and Omtzigt were two of the few MPs who demanded that the Dutch government withdraw the visas of the seven hate Imams, which they eventually managed to do with three of them.

 

The Dutch authorities decided to cancel the visas after they were shared with new information by the national anti-terrorism coordinator. According to local media, they were said to sympathise with Al-Qaeda and trying to get new recruits for Jihad.

 

The Dutch tax authority said they would appeal the court decision. The Rohamaa foundation did not comment but said through its lawyer that it was "pleased" with the ruling.

 

The three imams had initially received visas as they were not on a blacklist. But the National Coordinator for Counter-Terrorism and Security (NCTV) decided to get more information on them following multiple reports in local media calling them "hate imams."

 

Foreign Minister Bert Koenders then decided to revoke their visas, according to reports. Which three of the seven hate preachers got their visa revoked remains unclear.

 

The seven preachers slated to speak at the event were Tarik Ibn Ali, Khalid Suiaaj, Wahid Baali, Mohamad Hasssaan, Othman al Khamis, Mamdouh Tamamami and Abdallah Kaamil.

 

Imam Tarik Ibn Ali, whose real name is Tarik Chadlioui, reportedly has ties to the extremist groups Shariah4Belgium and Shariah4Holland. According to daily 'Trouw' he has multiple contacts with Dutch jihadists in Syria and Iraq.

 

Kuwaiti national Othman al Khamis is a preacher for an organisation called the Council of Supporters, which is said to have started the Al-Nusra front, according to reports.

 

Egyptian national Mohamad Hassaan once publicly called for the murder of Muslimapostates and was called by Dutch radicalisation expert Ragaiy Sinout a "very dangerous man".

 

Another Egyptian, Wahid Baali, is best known for a video message in which he praised Osama Bin Laden after his death.

CEN
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Author: Koen Berghuis

Koen Berghuis is ViralTab's roving correspondent and editor of the Benelux & German desk.