Dutch Ministry denies subsidy for Ground Zero Mosque
The Netherlands provides no subsidy for the building of a mosque at Ground Zero, the place in New York where the WTC towers stood until the attacks of September 11. So writes the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in response to the parliamentary questions of the PVV.
PVV MPs Geert Wilders and Sietse Fritsma had recently asked for clarification when news recently broke that the Netherlands is providing a one-million euro subsidy to the American Muslim organization Asma. According to the PVV, this organization is involved in the construction of the mosque at Ground Zero.
Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen [CDA; Christian Democrats; Verhagen is also at present fraction leader of the CDA] makes it known in writing to the PVV that the grant was earmarked for a program of Asma that focuses on the emancipation of Muslim women in Afghanistan, Egypt, and Pakistan. [see Parliamentary Letter below.]
Verhagen additionally denies that Asma is involved in plans to build a mosque near Ground Zero. “For that, therefore, no Dutch tax money used,” states Verhagen. For that reason he is not planning to withdraw the subsidy, as the PVV had demanded.
However, on the website of the Cordoba Initiative, which wants to build the mosque, Asma on the contrary is indeed is listed as a partner organization. Asma’s founder, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, moreover, is also chairman of the Cordoba Initiative.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs this Thursday could not immediately explain the reading by Verhagen.
From the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs:
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Parliament Letter on answering questions from members Wilders and Fritsma on ‘By the Netherlands co-financed of a mosque on Ground Zero’
Parliamentary Letter | July 28 2010
I am pleased hereby to offer you the answers to the written questions by members Wilders and Fritsma about ‘the co-financing by the Netherlands’ of a mosque on Ground Zero’. These questions were filed on July 21, 2010 with reference number 2010Z11149.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs,
Dr. M.J.M. Verhagen
Answers from Mr. Verhagen, Minister of Foreign Affairs, to questions of members Wilders and Fritsma (PVV) on ‘the co-financing by the Netherlands of a mosque on Ground Zero’.
Is it true that Dutch taxpayers’ money is used for the support of the American Society for Muslim Advancement (ASMA), the organization Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf, who wants to build a mosque on Ground Zero?
No, the American Society for Muslim Advancement (ASMA) is not involved in the construction of a mosque at Ground Zero in the United States. For that reason, therefore, there is thus no Dutch tax money used.
However, the American Society for Muslim Advancement does receive subsidy from the Dutch MDG3 Fund to implement the program of the Women’s Islamic Initiative in Spirituality and Equity (WISE) Compact program. WISE has as its aim the self-determination and full participation of Muslim women in their communities. To achieve this goal, activities focus on among other things the reform of existing legislation, the design of new legislation, and training for women, activities that are oriented towards increased equality between women and men. They do this primarily in Afghanistan, Egypt and Pakistan. It is about programs to prevent genital mutilation, counteracting violence against women, and organizing training of women (including media, leadership).
The duration of the project is from 13 October 2008 to June 30, 2011.
If yes, do you acknowledge that it is absurd to build a mosque right at Ground Zero and that this is also an insult to (the families of) the victims of 9-11? If not, why not?
See question 1
If so, are you, given the offensive plan to build said mosque, willing to immediately withdraw the subsidy to ASMA? If not, why not?
No. Because there is no question of support for the construction of a mosque. The withdrawal of the subsidy to ASMA, which focuses on promoting equal rights for women in countries such as among others Afghanistan, Pakistan and Egypt, is therefore not being considered.