Scrutinizing Transnational Actors’ Funding on Islamic Philanthropy in Europe

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Scrutinizing Transnational Actors’ Funding on Islamic Philanthropy in Europe

  • January 28, 2021
  • By Admin: Osman
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By Johannes Renders, PhD, CAS, Aarhus University and Prof. Lene Kühle, PhD, CAS, Aarhus University


Within the last decades, foreign funding of mosques has emerged as important topic in several European countries. Despite its obvious transnational aspects, foreign funding of mosques has rarely been addressed neither by researchers nor by politicians as a process of transnational encounters. Recent debates in the Netherlands and Denmark have however brought forward information, which may provide the first steps in a scholarly discussion on the transnational aspects (dimensions) of the funding as well as the transnational aspects (features) of debates and legislation about the funding. Though autocratic Gulf oil states and democratic European countries like Denmark and the Netherlands comparatively differ, in both institutional and political terms, paradoxically, in scrutinizing transnational philanthropy funding, certain common tendencies exist  


European politicians are increasingly growing aggravated by the way transnational actors (foreign donor states or NGOs) from, for instance, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait are believed to be interfering with and influencing Europe’s growing Muslim population. Despite intense political interest into how the foreign funding from the Petro-monarchies of the Gulf works, so far, no overview of the extent or the objectives of this funding exists. Reports from French[i], Dutch [[ii]] and British [[iii]] authorities inquire whether the funding is producing extremism, radicalization and potentially prevent the development of a European Islam, but knowledge about this is anecdotal at best. A 2018 report by the Council of Europe is inconclusive with regard to both the extent of the funding and how countries should react, but conclusively suggests, “increased transparency in foreign funding of Islam … can only be a good thing” [[iv]].

The reluctance of Gulf donors to report donations to projects in Europe into general databases for charity work is one of the reasons why information is scarce. Hesitancy of beneficiaries to disclose the identity of their patrons is also another factor. Importantly, there is also a noticeable lack of research. Scholars of the Middle East, knowledgeable of the importance of the charity sector, have paid little attention to donations to Europe[i] because these donations constitute a microscopic part of the overall Islamic charity economy primarily aimed at combatting poverty and deprivation in the Muslim world [[ii]]. Scholars of European Islam, on the other hand, have been concerned with controversies surrounding mosque building projects, but paid little attention to the specificities of finances and funding schemes. Transnationalism is a central dimension of Islamic charity, but for European Muslims the main direction of philanthropy has been from and not to Europe [[iii]]. However, within the last ten years European politicians and media have become aware that Europe is also perceived as an area in need of charity, though of a more spiritual kind.

European countries are by no means alone in aiming to curb interference from abroad driven charity activities and thereby attempt to assert their own sovereignty. In fact, as of 2012, nearly half (45%) of low-income countries had these restrictive laws attempting to counter unwanted foreign influences. A 2013 draft law from Kyrgyzstan was in fact discussed as protecting the country “from Arab Islamists and gay-loving Americans”[[i]]. As of 2012, only about 10% of medium- and high-income countries had passed restrictive laws relating to philanthropy and presence of and influence from foreign NGOs [[ii]]. In 2021, Denmark is, however, about to join the list when a law banning donation from certain regions is likely to be adopted in the spring of 2021 [[iii]]. Similarly, in January 2021, a bill [[iv]] that requires social and religious organizations to be transparent about their finances, thereby enabling  mayors and the Public Prosecution Service to inspect all donations from outside the European Union (all donations above 15.000 € now have to be made public), is pending in the Dutch House of Representatives. Though not devoid of national characteristics, similar vocabulary and persisting analogous concerns indicate the emergence of a trans-European and possibly transnational field of restrictive legislations aiming at curbing transnational philanthropy.

Material which is found and circulate in the nexus of European states and transnational Islamic charities in the Netherlands and Denmark indicates, however, that we might learn more about these different transnational phenomena and praxis.

Discovering transnational philanthropy aimed at Europe

Unique material on the working of Muslim charities in Europe has emerged, prompted by the interest of Dutch and Danish governments and demands of the public discourse. In 2016, the Dutch government-produced TV broadcast Nieuwsuur (NOS/NTR) discovered that Saudi Arabia and Kuwait had been confidentially informing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs which Dutch mosques had been applying for funding since 2010 and 2013 respectively. According to the media, the Cabinet wanted to keep the lists secret out of fear of damaging diplomatic relations with the Gulf states [[i]]. The then Minister of Social Affairs Lodewijk Asscher, pressed on the issue, roundly denied the government had secretly been informed about foreign funding of religious organizations by Gulf states themselves, yet argued against a ban on foreign financing of mosques [[ii]].

In March 2018, Nieuwsuur and daily newspaper of record NRC Handelblad published some of the confidential documents that Nieuwsuur had discovered back in 2016. These ‘lists’ detailed how some Gulf States had been funding Dutch Muslim organizations [[i]]. The reportage included conversations with mosque leaders, mosque-goers, ministries, counter-terrorism officials and municipalities involved with the transnational philanthropy to religious organizations. In June 2018, the then Minister of Foreign Affairs Stef Blok officially published the much-debated lists, including some new information [[ii]]. In the accompanying letter to Parliament, the Minister declared that, in the past years, the Foreign Ministry’s goal was “to keep such information, obtained voluntarily from other countries, confidential so as not to jeopardize the flow of information” [[iii]].

After much debating, in July 2019 the government established ‘The Parliamentary Interrogation Committee on Unwanted Influence from Unfree Countries’ (POCOB). Its aim: to gain more insight into undesirable influence on social and religious organizations (read: mosques) in the Netherlands from unfree countries and to list potential measures to overcome this influence [[i]]. After a period of preliminary research, the Committee held a series of public hearings with 19 experts, Muslim representatives and officials. The Parliamentary Committee delivered their report in June 2020, titled “(In)visible influence” [[ii]]. The conclusion: Dutch mosques are influenced by unfree countries. Behind the often deliberate financial strategy often hides influence that is purposely rendered invisible (except in the case of Turkey), thriving on the great lack of financial transparency. Not one governmental agency in the Netherlands has a complete overview over all cash flow from abroad. The urgent recommendation was not to ignore, but debate the issue further in order the reach a political action.

In Denmark, a similar political concern arose around 2016. The exposé Mosques behind the Veil aired by TV2 in 2016 had, among other things, shown the counselling given by eight Danish mosques. Though the program indicated no particular relationship to foreign funding, the political actions following the program included a political willingness to restrict foreign influences, including the possibility of Danish mosques to receive funding from abroad. In 2017, a report outlined the different possibilities for curbing funding, but found that they all contained potential legal problems relating to discrimination and freedom of religion[i]. In 2020, detailed material from the archives of the Danish Civil Affairs Agency (Civilstyrelsen) regarding a major Islamic foundation and center, the Hamad Bin Khalifa Civilization Center (HBKCC) was made public through a number of articles in the newspaper Berlingske. HBKCC was established in 2014 based on a record high contribution from Qatar. The Danish Civil Affairs Agency became involved as a mediator, when conflicts were threatening to tear HBKCC apart. The material includes financial reports, minutes from board meetings in the foundation, letters between donors and recipients and Danish authorities. The journalist also received material about the funding from Qatar Charity from French journalists Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot, which had published the book Qatar Papers (2019) on the basis of Qatar Charity’s financial accountings, that they had received from an anonymous source. In addition, a 2017 law on religious communities requires recognized religious communities to report larger donations from abroad. Under this law, three Muslim communities have reported larger donations: The Taiba mosque has reported donation via the Saudi embassy of €660,000 in 2018 and €80,000 from Kuwait in 2019, while the Islamic Federation (Islamisk Forbund) has reported to have received €50,000. The two mosques both hold a position as recognized religious communities and are by law required to make information about donations publicly available.

Patterns of Transnational philanthropy aimed at Europe

The material from the Netherlands and Denmark suggests the establishment of the first examples of Gulf philanthropy from the 1970s. During the 2020 POCOB hearings, El Boujoufi of the Muslims and Government Laison (CMO), a veteran within the Muslim community, recounted how the first mosques established in the 1970s did not avail themselves of foreign funds. Only in 1984, when it appeared migrant workers were to stay, representatives traveled to Saudi Arabia to collect funds from individual donors [[i]]. In Denmark, imams paid from Saudi Arabia already existed in 1970s, but the first mosques paid by Muslims World League, a Saudi-Arabian NGO with strong government relations, established in 1962, is known from the 1980s. In both countries, some donations are invisible, while some donations for instance the funding of imams by the Turkish Diyanet and some donations from Qatar were public [[i]]. In Denmark, the donation from Qatar to HBKCC of almost 20 million EUR overshadows everything. The existence of invisible donors or donors only made public through state requirement forms the background for new laws demanding transparency.

In 2018, as a side-note to the financial flows revelations, NRC Handelblad described three steps that Muslim organizations undergoes to receive foreign donations: 1) To have a good chance of winning a big donation, organizations need a ‘tazkiya’ (letter of recommendation) from a person of authority in the Gulf region. For example, the dean of the Kuwait University wrote a recommendation for the Al Fitrah mosque in Utrecht, while the director of the Saudi charity organization Waqf in Eindhoven recommended donors to invest in a Limburg mosque project. A recommendation from Waqf is worth a lot: the organization is supported by a series of popular Saudi sheikhs, who can also call on their own supporters to donate money. 2) Once the tazqiya has been obtained, the statutes and the purchase contracts are to be translated into Arabic and provided with a stamp of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Beneficiaries should also attach a certificate of good conduct, with Arabic translation, issued by the Ministry of Justice and Security. 3) Finally, the actual application for the funds are presented to the country’s embassy or to individual charities in the Gulf region [[i]]. The Danish material confirms – but with much less detail – similar procedures for the donations to HBKCC.

The NRC Handelblad newspaper did not fail to add that these charities often had a network of imams who would fly over to preach in mosques where ‘their’ charity has invested money. In fact, in none of the Dutch POCOB hearings with Muslim representatives transpired a direct relation between money from Qatar, Kuwait or Saudi Arabia and any specific religious influence. That is to say, no contracts had surfaced proving any donor had asked a beneficiary to teach certain lessons or letting certain imams preach. Jacob van der Blom, whose conversion had made headlines in the Middle East, brought in millions from Qatar and Kuwait, but disputed that religious influence was ever requested in return [[i]]. Even though people from these countries occasionally were appointed as board members after a large financial donation, the implication remained unclear [[ii]]. The Danish material overall supports this pattern. The material concerns a single mosque, but the mosques had received a record high funding from two sources in Qatar and a source in Kuwait. Initial, the largest donor the Private Engineering Organization (PEO) did not seem to interfere at all, but when a major conflict evolved within the foundation, PEO intervened and board members resident in Qatar eventually took over the majority of the seats in the board about ten years after the first donation. Their agenda seems to be to secure the livelihood of the mosque and not to influence the religious messages, yet arguments ex silencio, that there is no evidence of an influence, tend not to close discussion, as it cannot be ruled out that material proving a relation will eventually emerge.

What the Dutch hearings did reveal, or rather confirm, was that ultra-orthodox movements abroad influenced some Dutch Muslims. According to the various sources, the influence happens via informal international networks and social media such as YouTube videos, not so much via formal financial agreements [[i]]. A recent AIVD (the Dutch General Intelligence and Security Service) report substantiated that the Salafist and ultra-Orthodox community in the Netherlands has grown as a result [[ii]]. The argument was that Islamic organizations that opt for a more orthodox course, seek their funds in the Gulf states. The money is used to finance schools and to build new mosques by increasingly professional Dutch organizations. The same pattern emerges in Denmark, where many – but not all- of the mosques, which has received funding, has been associated with radicalism one way or the other [[iii]].

In both countries, the media has played a crucial role in bringing forward the relevant information. The journalists involved in the foreign funding revelations aim to come across as objective. But they also push a certain framing. The Danish newspapers’ articles about HBKCC almost always features pictures from the inauguration of the center, which was attended by a large Qatari delegation, while everyday activities are attended by Muslims looking very differently. Articles often carry titles with statements of fact such as “The Dordrecht mosque received 88.888 dollar from Saudi-Arabia”. But this short ‘guideline’, and the article’s content suggest, that this is an issue of influence. The link makes perfectly sense in light of a common vernacular adage in both countries: wie betaalt, bepaalt (he who pays the piper calls the tune). The association is too convincing to discount: When the POCOB research and hearings were not able to uncover clear evidence that the donations led to influence, they settled on condemning “a deliberate financial strategy hiding influence that aims to remain invisible”[[i]].

In other words, the media coverage will often push an agenda of ‘influence’ which is not necessarily accurate, or at any rate difficult to prove. This has been perhaps the key frustration for Muslim representatives in both countries, who testified against the influence-framing. After critical media, coverage on the basis of a donation from the Saudi Embassy the Taiba mosque in Copenhagen posted a comment on Facebook stating “We are an independent voluntary association that seeks support from pools and foundations both at home and abroad….No consideration is expected and no conditions are attached to the aid. Our voluntary association aims to benefit Danish Muslims, which is why donations from abroad have no effect on our articles of association or voluntary work”[[i]]. “There is nothing wrong with foreign funding,” stated Jacob van der Blom, who spoke quite candidly about his fundraising, “if one is transparent about it”[[ii]]. Others found the whole investigation plainly discriminatory. Four Muslim umbrella organizations, together representing about 150 associations and mosques, wrote an incendiary letter to the House of Representatives complaining that the Parliamentary Committee should not only look at foreign money flows to mosques but also to political parties, churches, synagogues, and so on. Chairman Abdelhamid Bouzzit suggested to consider the influence of the Vatican [[iii]].

In the Netherlands, Muslim attempts to repair their relationship with the state community has little attention and not been heard. Various organizations, such as the Muslims and Government Laison (Contactorgaan Moslims en Overheid) and the Council of Moroccan Mosques in the Netherlands (Raad van Marokkaanse Moskeeën Nederland), have told the POCOB committee they are willing to sign a covenant on transparency about donations. Unfortunately, according to authorities, perhaps less than one third of the Muslim organizations has accepted the call to cooperate just yet [[i]]. To be fair, complaints and critiques aside, during the parliamentary investigation and political debates it has often been acknowledged that the main problem are the Dutch Muslims that are the ‘duped’ by the spread of Salafism. Politicians did listen to the extent that the aforementioned propositions by Muslim organizations have been included in possible measures [[ii]]. In Denmark, the Muslim organizations, which has a status as recognized communities were invited to respond to the bill draft in preventing donations. Of the 30 recognized Muslim communities only two responded, i.e. the   Danish Turkish Islamic Foundation (Dansk Tyrkisk Islamisk Stiftelse/ Danimarka Türk Diyanet Vakfı) and Danish Islamic community (Dansk Islamisk Trossamfund/Danimarka İslam Toplumu). Both stressed that the bill was both legally problematic and lacked genuine knowledge about religious communities in Denmark [[iii]].

Emerging trans-European field of restrictive laws curbing foreign funding

The similarities between the debates in the Netherlands and Denmark indicate another transnational element, i.e. the emergence of a trans-European debate on foreign funding. The similarities between the two countries include common application of terms and words. In the Netherlands, words like unfree, undemocratic, who pays determines, poison, import of hatred (import van haat), and ‘financing of international jihadism’ are crucial for the debates. In Denmark, the vocabulary includes antidemocratic but also unfree, and though ‘poison’ is rarely used, emphasis on hate and hate preachers is strong. Islamism or fundamentalism are often presented as the main enemy. While the words are not exactly the same, the framing of the concern is very similar and includes a suggesting that the ‘bad stuff’ is imported and not taking place at home.

It is commonly acknowledged in both Denmark and the Netherlands that challenges of foreign funding is a joint European problem and that some regulation or at least specific insights of the donations is needed. However, parties never discuss that approval requirements of foreign donations are common also in the MENA region and among the donor countries themselves. For instance, in Saudi Arabia both philanthropic organizations and recipients of philanthropy, are subjected to extensive government oversight. In the U.A.E., a 2015 law, requires philanthropic organizations to seek and receive approval from the Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department (IACAD), prior to fundraising or distributing any fundraising-related communication. In Qatar, 2014 laws emerged in response to international media reports that Qatari philanthropic institutions were aiding tergrorists. This included the establishment of the Regulatory Authority for Charitable Activities (RACA). All associations must receive RACA’s permission before engaging in collecting and offering donations or fundraising in general [[i]]. While legislation in Gulf countries has emphasis on the domestic charity associations, in all of the Gulf countries philanthropic organizations must receive government permission before affiliating with foreign organizations, engaging in activities abroad, accepting foreign donations, or giving to foreign causes.

The existence of similarities between the legislation in the Gulf countries and the proposed legislation in Europe has two important implications. First, the European concerns about foreign influence paradoxically resembles the concerns in the undemocratic countries with lesser freedom, that the planned legislation in the Netherlands and in Denmark it is supposed to offset[i]. This may make it less surprising that warnings about this legislation has been raised in both countries. In Denmark, a report from 2017 suggests that it is difficult to make appropriate legislation without breaking basic rights [[ii]]. The same concern was raised in the Netherlands, where emphasis mainly has been on fact-finding missions, but where two draft bills has been presented and are likely to be passed in 2021. In Denmark, politicians appear to be willing to go further than in the Netherlands, and a law restricting the entry of hate preachers in 2016 was adopted. Dutch politicians are interested to implement, but has been prevented due to legal concerns. It is however unclear whether the differences between the practices in the Netherlands and Denmark are more than linguistic terms. To prevent extremists from outside the European Union from applying for a visa in the Netherlands, the National Coordinator for Counterterrorism and Security (NCTV) keep a list on the basis of which eight imams were refused entry in 2015 [[iii]]. The Contact Body for Muslims and Government (CMO) also draws up such a list, but it is mainly intended for advice. This way, mosque boards can check whether speakers they want to invite are welcome [[iv]]. Secondly, while alms giving has a long tradition in the Muslim world, transnational Muslim charities is a relatively new phenomenon. The first transnational Muslim NGOs emerged in the 1960s in Saudi Arabia [[v]]. Later, NGOs from other Gulf countries followed. Increasingly, similar organizations also emerged in Europe and in the USA, mainly funded by Muslims who had migrated from Middle Eastern and Asian countries. In 2012, an estimated four hundred international Muslim charities operate globally [[vi]]. In 2017, there were more than 700 non-profit organizations in Saudi Arabia alone. The sheer number and the dynamics of possible donors, seem to challenge the set-up of the Danish draft law, namely that the law would produce a list of donors which are deemed as undermining democracy. The Netherlands has so far chosen another path.  In 2018, Saudi Arabia promised the Dutch authorities to work to collaborate in preventing Saudi money from going to extremist Muslims in the Netherlands. The Minister of Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir declared this to a delegation of Dutch MP’s visiting the country while arguing that the use of donations to support extremism and terrorism “would give the Saudi a bad name”. The Dutch parliamentary delegation proposed to expand the cooperation with the Saudis with, for example, a joint investigation into the money flows.[vii] As of 2021, it is, however, not clear what has come of this promise of collaboration.




[[iv]], p.16.

[[v]] Benthall, J. and R. Lacey, Gulf Charities and Islamic Philanthropy in the” age of Terror” and Beyond. 2014: Gerlach Press Berlin.

[[vi]] Lacey, Robert, and Jonathan Benthall. “Introduction.” Gulf Charities and Islamic Philanthropy in the “Age of Terror” and Beyond, edited by Robert Lacey and Jonathan Benthall, Gerlach Press, Berlin, 2014, p.3.

[[vii]] Erdal, M.B. and K. Borchgrevink, “Transnational Islamic charity as everyday rituals”. Global Networks, 2017. 17(1): p. 130-146 and Gardner, K., Our own poor: Transnational charity, development gifts and the politics of suffering in Sylhet and the UK. Modern Asian Studies, 2018. 52(1): p. 163-185.

[[viii]] Baldus, J., et al., Preventing Civic Space Restrictions: An exploratory study of successful resistance against NGO laws. Vol. 1. 2019: DEU.

[[ix]] Oelberger, C.R. and S.Y. Shachter, National Sovereignty and Transnational Philanthropy: The Impact of Countries’ Foreign Aid Restrictions on US Foundation Funding. VOLUNTAS: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations, 2020: p. 1-16.


[[xi]] Wet Transparantie geldstromen naar maatschappelijke organisaties

[[xii]] Milena Moldert, “Kabinet weigert lijst moskeeën bekend te maken,” Nieuwsuur, September 1, 2016.

[[xiii]] “Asscher: buitenlandse steun moskeeën niet verbieden,” NOS, May 25, 2016.

[[xiv]] Kouwenhoven, Andreas and Milena Holdert, “Geheime lijsten financiering moskeeën onthuld,” NRC Handelsblad, March 23, 2018.

[[xv]] Tweede Kamer der Staten-Generaal, “Informatie over financiering vanuit Saoedi-Arabië en Koeweit,”, June 19, 2018.

[[xvi]] Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken, “Kamerbrief inzake toezenden informatie over financiering vanuit Saoedi-Arabië en Koeweit,”, June 19, 2018.

[[xvii]] “Parlementaire ondervragingscommissie ongewenste beïnvloeding uit onvrije landen,”, accessed January 15, 2021.

[[xviii]] Parlementaire ondervragingscommissie ongewenste beïnvloeding uit onvrije landen (POCOB). 2020. (On)zichtbare invloed: Verslag parlementaire ondervragingscommissie naar ongewenste beïnvloeding uit onvrije landen. Den Haag: Tweede Kamer der Staten-Generaal.

[[xix]] Regeringen, Åbenhed om udenlandske donationer til trossamfund og religiøse foreninger 2017.

[[xx]] POCOB, “Stenografisch verslag van een openbaar verhoor in het kader van de parlementaire ondervragingscommissie Ongewenste beïnvloeding uit onvrije landen (POCOB) op 12 februari 2020 in de Enquêtezaal van het Logement te Den Haag. Gehoord wordt: de heer D.El Boujoufi (vicevoorzitter Contactorgaan Moslims en Overheid, CMO), die wordt bijgestaan door de heer R. van Oordt,”, January 12, 2020. 25-26.

[[xxi]]; POCOB, Parlementaire ondervragingscommissie ongewenste beïnvloeding uit onvrije landen. 2020. “(On)Zichtbare Invloed: Verslag Parlementaire Ondervragingscommissie Naar Ongewenste Beïnvloeding Uit Onvrije Landen.” Den Haag: Tweede Kamer der Staten-Generaal.

[[xxii]] Andreas Kouwenhoven and Milena Holdert, “De Dordtse moskee kreeg 88.888 dollar uit Saoedi-Arabië,” NRC Handelsblad, April 23, 2018.

[[xxiii]] Other imams testified the same: El Damanhoury from the Al-Fourqaan mosque in Eindhoven, Taheri from the As-Soennah mosque in The Hague, and Salam from alFitrah in Utrecht.

[[xxiv]] “Laatste verhoordag commissie moskeeën, wat heeft het opgeleverd?,” NOS, February 20, 2020.

[[xxv]] “Laatste verhoordag commissie moskeeën, wat heeft het opgeleverd?,” NOS, February 20, 2020.

[[[xxvi] Algemene Inlichtingen- en Veiligheidsdienst (AIVD), “Dreigingsbeeld Terrorisme Nederland (DTN) 53,”, October 15, 2020.

[[xxvii]] Kühle, L 2020, Salafist environments and mosques in Denmark. in M Ranstorp (ed.), Contextualising Salafism and Salafi Jihadism . Nationalt Center for Forebyggelse af Ekstremisme, pp. 88-105, International conference on Salafism and Salafi Jihadism, Copenhagen, Denmark, 27/11/2019. <>.

[[xxviii]] ”Eindverslag ‘(On)zichtbare invloed’ aangeboden aan Tweede Kamer,”, June 25, 2020.

[[xxix]] Berlingske 22.01. 2020.

[[xxx]] Andreas Kouwenhoven, “‘Met buitenlandse financiering is niets mis’,” NRC Handelsblad, February 9, 2020.

[[xxxi]] “Moskeeën: parlementair onderzoek moet niet alleen over islam gaan,” NOS, February 5, 2020.

[[xxxii]] “Kabinet wil verbod op ongewenste financiering moskeeën en organisaties,” NOS, February 21, 2020.

[[xxxiii]]  POCOB 2020, p. 103.

[[xxxv]] Høringssvar vedr. udkast til forslag til lov om forbud mod modtagelse af donationer fra visse fysiske og juridiske personer. 2020.

[[xxxviii]] International Center for non-profit law, The legal framework for philanthropic in the Arab gulf. 2017.

[[xxxix]] This bind has been addressed by a member of a Danish NGO, which faced suspicion by Bangladeshi authorities due to their foreign origin: “It was clearly insecure for the government of a poor country to accept money from a private organization in a rich country for projects we ourselves defined in their country. Did we have our own development agenda? Of course we had that: All power to the poor!”

[[xxxvii]] Regeringen, Åbenhed om udenlandske donationer til trossamfund og religiøse foreninger 2017.


[[xxxix]]”Radicale imam Verviers preekte ook in Helmond,” NOS, January 21, 2015.; Andreas Kouwenhoven, “Contactorgaan Moslims: ‘haatimam’ bestrijdt juist extremisme,” NRC, April 30, 2015.

[[xl]] Ghodsee, Kristen. “Religious freedoms versus gender equality: Faith-based organizations, Muslim minorities, and Islamic headscarves in the new Europe.” Social Politics 14.4 (2007): 526-561.

[[xli]] Petersen, M.J., Trajectories of transnational Muslim NGOs. Development in Practice, 2012. 22(5-6): p. 763-778.

[[xlii]] “Saudi-Arabië belooft geldstromen naar extremisten tegen te gaan,” NOS, May 11, 2018.