POLICY PLAN 

Objective and Activities of the Institution

Background and Motivation

According to the latest 2019 ECRI report on the Netherlands, it is concerning how Muslims, as minorities in the country, feel excluded due to hostile language used by politicians and even government agencies. Hate-driven attacks on Muslims and mosques have taken place, and there are still far too few reports filed against these attacks. The ECRI notes that the political debate in general is still strongly influenced by a xenophobic, fear-mongering rhetoric under the influence of the Party for Freedom (PVV) and Forum for Democracy (FvD). This debate has led to division since the beginning of this century and is fueled by repeatedly new Islamophobic remarks and actions. According to civil society organizations and experts, several other political parties have responded by also speaking in terms of “us versus them,” sowing division. This ranges from collective accusations against people based on their migration background or religion to downplaying prejudices and negative stereotypes of Muslims compared to “ordinary Dutch people.”

Debates, a Parliamentary investigation committee, and a law on transparency regarding foreign financing are focused solely on foreign financing of mosques and organizations with an Islamic identity. Such patterns reinforce the feeling among Muslims that there is a double standard, that their thoughts and actions are judged differently, and that offensive remarks by politicians about Muslims are considered acceptable. This sense of injustice and moral outrage also applies to the public debate and media attention. The Tax Allowance Affair has certainly played a significant role in this.

Therefore, the Ummah Project Foundation was established, where lawyers collaborate with film and documentary makers and photographers to combat Islamophobia and xenophobia using the pen and camera. The Ummah Project focuses on Islamophobia but emphasizes discrimination in all forms, regardless of the reason for discrimination. Complaints taken up by the Foundation are entirely free for everyone.

Lawyers are fully engaged in reporting alleged violations of the constitution (the principle of equality, the ban on discrimination, and freedom of religion). Complaints are first submitted to those who are suspected of violating these rights, and ultimately, if necessary, to the UN Human Rights Council, the UN Human Rights Committee, or the European Court of Human Rights. The film and documentary makers work with photographers to capture the stories and processes and publish their work on the website www.ummah-project.com.

The Activities

Our main activity is the legal process. The goal is to fight against discrimination and to strengthen and defend those who are victims of discrimination, such as those affected by the Belastingtoeslagaffaire. We also connect law firms with victims of discrimination so that they can represent and defend their interests pro bono. We have already compiled a list of law firms with whom we want to work, including our chairman’s office. We document these collaborations in a letter of intent or a cooperation agreement.

Another important activity is documenting these legal processes. This involves interviewing victims, documenting legal processes, and producing a final report. We publish this report on our website and share it with our media contacts. Our board members have close relationships with journalists who work for various news platforms.

Additionally, we interview various people to capture the diversity within the Islamic community. Muslims come in all colours and cultures. We want to capture all the different views, lifestyles and stories and create a film: The Ummah. We interview Muslims who reflect and embody diversity, such as those with their own stories, struggles and triumphs, those with addictions, those who are homeless, those who are transgender and homosexual, those who are blind, those who have converted, those who have suddenly become rich, those with addictions, and those who are harassed because they wear a niqab, etc. The goal is to release this film.

We have also started the Prophets Series, where influencer “Mohamedsmening” tells stories about the prophets, from Adam to Muhammad (peace be upon them). These stories are funded by his followers (donations) and produced by us until we have the financial means to involve companies and documentary makers.

The Method of Income Acquisition

At its inception, Project Ummah Foundation did not have a budget to pay for lawyers, documentary makers, and photographers. Therefore, the work is done on a voluntary basis by the board members and volunteers until sufficient funds are available. The board members have extensive experience in providing legal assistance (for example, the law firm of the Foundation’s chairman: Sabir’s Legal Services with KVK 67135706) and are continually improving their documentary and photography skills.

The Foundation aims to be as transparent as possible, which is why it first applies for ANBI status before actively seeking income. The Foundation will finance its work through donations from individuals, organizations, and companies. Since companies, especially private limited companies, are reluctant to donate without ANBI status, and ANBI status obliges the Foundation to keep and disclose its financial records regularly, the Foundation requests ANBI status.

On social media platforms, a gofundme link and a direct payment link are shared, requesting individuals to support the Foundation with a donation (even if it is just 5 pounds). We hope to receive recurring donations from regular donors.

Management and use of the institution’s assets

The funds are managed by a volunteer bookkeeper who organizes the internal accounting and transfers it to the treasurer. The treasurer checks the accounting every month and discusses it with the board. Finally, the accounting is formally audited by an external company, namely our accountant. In this way, there are four moments of control: 1- internal bookkeeper; 2- treasurer; 3- entire board and 4- external accountant.

The money is fully allocated to achieving the objectives. This means that it is used to pay law firms for legal work and advice. This is particularly important because many people do not file a complaint or report because they think it is pointless and do not hire a lawyer because they do not have the money or resources to do so.

The raised funds are also used to hire film and documentary makers and photographers to create visual content that we will publish on our website. Currently, we are doing it ourselves, but it costs the board and volunteers a lot of time and energy, especially the post-production work. Our goal is to be able to outsource these tasks to professionals. However, we have not yet found a company that fits within our budget as the quotes we have received so far are far beyond what we can afford.

Financial forecast for the end of 2022 and 2023

Project Ummah Foundation is a non-profit organization. In fact, we – the three-member board of Project Ummah – do not wish to have more funds than strictly necessary to realize our projects and sustain the foundation. With money comes responsibility, and the foundation relies solely on donations. Inspired by the Islamic faith and the board’s commitment, we are obliged to use donations responsibly and ensure that every penny is accounted for. This is why we have applied for ANBI status, which requires us to provide transparency on how we handle funds.

Project Ummah was registered with the Chamber of Commerce in mid-2021. In 2021, no external donations were received, and necessary expenses were paid for by the board members themselves. In 2022, funds were raised through speaker “Mohamedsmening” to produce an episode about Prophet Adam. With the funds raised, we bought camera equipment to produce the episode ourselves. After consulting with professional film crews, we found it to be more cost-effective to make the episodes ourselves. Income and expenses have been tracked in our bookkeeping.

In 2021 and 2022, the focus was on structuring the foundation, including defining goals and networking with organizations such as Amnesty International, Spior, SiorH, Centrum de Middenweg, Stichting Meld Islamofobie, and various law firms. The board members also engaged in discussions with government agencies, primarily the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment.

By the end of 2022, we hope to attract several regular donors. Once we have ANBI status, we plan to start fundraising with the goal of securing enough regular donors to rent an office from January 1, 2023. We estimate that we will need around 1500 euros per month to achieve this goal. After that, we will start fundraising for individual projects, starting with the “Discrimination in Healthcare” project. For each project, we will provide an explanation on our website of how much money is needed, how it will be spent, and how much has been raised. We will also provide a financial report at the end of each project.

For example, the “Discrimination in Healthcare” project aims to investigate the reasons behind the excess mortality in 2021, particularly among Dutch patients with a foreign background (mainly Turkish, Moroccan, and Surinamese patients). We need 500 euros for this project, which will be used to hire a research team to conduct surveys and interviews with patients, their families, the CBS, and healthcare institutions. Once the research is complete, we will publish the findings online and coordinate with the press. We will also post an overview of expenses on our website.

PROGNOSE 2023

Beginning balance 2023 0,00
Expected income (in €)0,00
Donations 28.000 

Total income 28.000

Expected expenses (in €)
Lawyer fees 2.000
Rent expenses 18.000
Costs for furnishing business space 3.000
Utilities and other services 3.500
Other expenses 1.000

Total expenses 27.500

Ending balance 2023 500


Other

    1. Criterion of Control

The board consists of three directors with one vote each, in accordance with the new Articles of Association. This satisfies the control requirement, so that none of the directors can or may have a majority of control.

    1. Liquidation Provision

If the Foundation no longer exists, the remaining assets will be allocated to another ANBI institution in accordance with our new Articles of Association.

We are here to reclaim the narrative of our own story and defend our rights!

Quick links

KVK 82237042

ROTTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS