UN-Complaint against POCOB
April 24, 2023, The Hague
Muslim-coalition files a complaint at the UN human rights committee against POCOB (Parliamentary Committee on Unwanted Foreign Influence)
Muslim dignitaries Mr. Hamid Tahiri, Mr. Jacob van der Blom, and Mr. Nasr el Damanhoury, who were “interrogated as criminals in the suspect’s dock” during the parliamentary investigation into foreign funding of mosques, accompanied by the Ummah Project Foundation, file a complaint with the UN human rights committee in an attempt to obtain their rights.
In 2020, the Parliamentary Committee on Unwanted Foreign Influence (POCOB) investigated on behalf of the Dutch parliament whether Dutch social and religious organisations, such as mosques, are “unwantedly” influenced by “unfree” countries.
The investigation by POCOB gave itself an objective and non-discriminatory cover, in reality the focus was exclusively on Muslims and Muslim organisations. Representatives of various Islamic organisations were heard in this regard. This exclusive focus on Islam and Muslims is in violation of fundamental human rights, and in particular the non-discrimination principle according to Art. 1 of the Constitution.
The Dutch parliament, without basis or adequate motivation, labeled financial flows to Islamic organisations, such as mosques, as problematic, mainly consisting of donations (zakaat: Islamic obligatory alms tax, where no quid pro quo may be involved) from a list of countries that were also labeled as unfree countries without basis or adequate motivation, namely Morocco, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia.
This was done under the pretext of investigating whether there was undesirable foreign influence through financial flows. An investigation based on unclear terms, suspicion, mistrust, and hostility driven by prejudice rather than legal foundations and human rights. This resulted in a classic witch hunt against Muslims and Islamic organisations. Along with the targeted mosques and institutions, the victims, who were initially called to testify under threat of detention, had to defend themselves as suspects against highly incriminating allegations.
“Not only does the question arise as to why such a heavy-handed instrument was used. The disproportionate instrument used, in which the witnesses were publicly interrogated under oath as suspects, was completely unnecessary. These Muslims were wrongly publicly associated with terrorism, extremism, money laundering, and embezzlement via a livestream and TV channels. They were not heard as witnesses but as suspects and had to defend themselves unprepared without being given the chance to be truly heard,” said lawyer Samira Sabir, who filed the case on behalf of the Ummah Project Foundation. She continues: “At the conclusion of this investigation, a report was issued that offers no room for what the victims have stated, mistrusts the statements of the victims in clear words, and arrived at its conclusions without obtaining findings from the investigation.”
The victims claim that the Muslim community at large and they personally continue to suffer damage to this day. According to them, the parliamentary committee’s actions were based on suspicion and incompetence, with a lack of proper knowledge about Muslims and Islam prevailing.
Previous requests for protest against the alleged abuses – mainly due to the discriminatory nature of the investigation and methods, the lack of objectivity, and the lack of knowledge about the Muslim community – were rejected by POCOB and the parliament. Therefore, the victims have now chosen to file a complaint against this with the United Nations Human Rights Committee.
We are here to reclaim the narrative of our own story and defend our rights!