According to local daily NRC Handelsblad, mosque association officials and members active in the Muslim community were investigated by Nuance door Training and Advice (NTA) on behalf of municipalities, using unlawful undercover methods.
NTA staff reportedly entered mosques and visited community leaders without revealing their true identities in municipalities including Rotterdam, Delft, Almere, Huizen, Leidschendam-Voorburg, Zoetermeer, Veenendaal and Ede.
The investigations have cost an estimated total of $347,990, NRC Handelsblad wrote.
The newspaper also found that investigative reports were written up, but were not made public nor shared with the municipal councils and the organizations that were investigated.
The news has caused discontent among Muslim communities, who feel they have been "othered" through the secret investigations.
Spior, an organization representing Muslims which encourages their participation in Dutch society, issued a statement calling the investigations an example of Islamophobia.
“With a government that so violently and radically portrays the Muslim community as the ‘other’ and ‘potentially dangerous’, populism seems to have reached the upper government levels,” the organization said.
Earlier this year, far-right politician Geert Wilders campaigned to close mosques, Islamic schools and ban the Quran in the Netherlands.
His party, the Party for Freedom (PVV), also called for the establishment of a ministry for “repatriation” and de-Islamification.
Source: Middle East Eye