It is not clear to the cabinet whether the controversial Labib al Nahhas still has terrorist ties now that he is being paid Dutch tax money. Al Nahhas used to be a prominent member of Ahrar al Sham, a jihadist terrorist movement in Syria. Al Nahhas himself told Argos – the flow of funds revealed this weekend – that he had left the terror group earlier because of “unsolvable differences” of opinion between him and the leadership. He also claims that he tried to prevent the group from adopting an “extreme ideology”.
The Dutch court previously ruled that Ahrar al Sham has a terrorist intent, when two Dutch Syria fighters who had joined the group were convicted.
Kaag emphasized in the House on Tuesday that the terror group Ahrar al Sham itself has never received funding from the Netherlands. This concerns indirect financing of the former leader Al Nahhas via the EIP, says Kaag. According to her, the latter organization therefore has the responsibility to check whether people who receive money have dubious connections and to inform the ministry thereof. “The EIP has failed to do so,” said the minister. “But the suggestion that the cabinet knowingly finances terrorists is far from me.”
The issue does, however, prompt the Ministry to switch to a different system for assessing the risks associated with financing through third parties. There is also an investigation into the financing of Al Nahhas.
In the podcast by Wierd Duk: why has not enough research been done into the use of this tax money and is the partiality of the responsible minister, Sigrid Kaag of D66, under threat?