In many European States Islam is not funded on equal footing with other European religions. At the same time, the issue of foreign funding attracts particular attention and the alleged lack of transparency gives grounds for political speculations, suspicion and fears, including the fear of possible misuse of this funding for the purposes of radicalisation.
Taking into account the impact of these debates on the democratic lives of European societies, we propose that the Parliamentary Assembly thoroughly study the different models of funding of Islam in Europe.
The following questions should be examined: what models of public funding of Islam exist in Europe and how do they define a framework for direct and indirect foreign funding, including religious education and training of imams, building and management of religious facilities, etc.? What are the main sources and intermediaries of foreign funding of Islam in Europe, including State and non-State actors? What is the role of the Turkish Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) in the development of Islam in other Council of Europe member States? What are the implications of funding of Islam in Europe by extra-European sources? How to improve transparency of the different models of funding, including in order to prevent populist misuse of the topic? To which extent foreign funding of Islam can become an instrument of external political influence? Finally, how can closer European co-operation promote transparency and trust while refraining from excessive intervention into religious affairs and providing a framework for a free and harmonious development of Islam in Europe?