Friday, June 08, 2007

More Mosque for your money?

Amsterdam-West is the scene of an attempt to built a large mosque (including garage and shopping centre) by Milli Gorüs, a Turkish Islamic organisation.

The project is controversial and keeps yielding juicy news. It is getting more and more unclear if the mosque will ever be built, depite strong support from the central government and Amsterdam townhall.

Former Justice Minister Donner laid the first stone in 2006, promoting Milli Gorüs in a grandiloquent speech. Donner has also said that he would support introduction of the Sharia as the Dutch constitution if this would be done according to democratic procedure.

However, there are those in the Amsterdam neighbourhood "De Baarsjes" that do not want the mosque to be built. This organisation, Bort, has been finding more and more allies in their opposition to the building of the mosque.

As opposition mounted, Fatih Dag, Milli Gorüs' spokesman in the Netherlands threatened violent demonstrations by Turks (Dutch) from all over Europe. Similar threats were made by the then spokesman Kabateke in 1995, when there was oppostion to the building of the mosque (Dutch).

This was the final straw to many Amsterdam and Parliamentary politicians. They reacted by deserting Milli Gorüs and publicly stating that the Turkish Muslims had lost their backing on the issue of the building of the Mosque.

The position of Milli Gorüs had been weakened when it turned out the organisation had used mosques and Islamic organisations as platforms to sell "Islamic investments" to Dutch Turks. These investments, often called "holdings" by Turks have been popular with German and Dutch Turks in the 90ies and later. Tens and hundreds of thousands of Euros were invested in the Islamic Investments by individual Turks, constituting their life savings. The total sums are estimated in the dozens and hundreds of millions of Euros. However the holdings turned out to be pyramid schemes and the investors saw their investments lose their value overnight. At least some of the money raised by the "Islamic Investments" was funneled into Jihadism in Turkey and other parts of the Middle East.

But the story has gotten worse. The cover-up seems to have collapsed and on June the 6th of June it transpired that the Amsterdam municipality in 2005 had supported Milli Gorüs' Amsterdam mega Mosque project by a shady real estate transaction that transferred two million Euros from the Municipal purse to the Turkish Muslims.

For some dark unstated reason, no heads rolled in Amsterdam politics after this came out. The politicos motivated their decisions by recounting threats that had been made by the Mosque's board. As the "Islamic Investments" had gone broke, Milli Gorüs Amsterdam had apparently become insolvent. In order to regain their financial position that if financial aid was essential. If it would not be forthcoming the Amsterdam Turks threathened that the radical German leadership of Milli Gorüs would become dominant after giving them the two million Euros.

In summary: in order to, among other things, finance Jihadism in Europe and the Middle East Milli Gorüs and other organisations defrauded their compatriots and co-religionists of millions of Euros. When their schemes collapsed their front organisations in Amsterdam was faced with a financial shortfall. In order to make up the deficit the Amsterdam Municipality was succesfully blackmailed into transferring 2 million Euros into the coffers of the Amsterdam Jihadist front Milli Gorüs. The Amsterdam Municipality was very easy to blackmail, despite the very obvious crossing of the separation between church and state that was involved. In the end the appeasement did not pay off and just whetted the appetite of the Turks for unearned money and rights. This does not result in a political scandal and is downplayed by the media. Heads do not roll.

Finally: I feel it is safe to state that this is not the last scandal that will be connected to the building of the Wester Mosque in particular and other mosque projects in The Netherlands in general. To be continued.