YEDIOTH AHRONOTH (Israel), LA STAMPA (Italy), THE IRISH TIMES (Ireland)
JERUSALEM - The appointment of Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto as Papal Nuncio to Israel last week has sparked controversy in Jerusalem after it emerged that he was linked to the pedophile priests scandal that hit the Irish Catholic Church in 2005..
The country’s biggest-circulation daily newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth, has refered to Lazzaroto’s appointment by Pope Benedict XVI “an embarrassment and humiliation for Israel”.
Archbishop Lazzarotto, who served as the Vatican's ambassador to Ireland at the time of the scandal, was accused of doing everything in his power to protect suspected Irish clerics.
He is thought to have spearheaded the strategy not to cooperate with Judge Yvonne Murphy - who was investigating the sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic archdiocese of Dublin, explain La Stampa and The Irish Times.
After refusing to disclose information in Ireland, he was appointed Vatican’s ambassador to Australia in 2008.
According to Yedioth Ahronoth, this “appointment is a slap in Israel’s face… Therefore, Israel must demand clarifications from the Vatican and Ireland regarding the archbishop’s conduct during the pedophile priest scandal – before his term as ambassador to Israel begins.”
Revelations of a nationally funded clandestine operation within 10 municipalities in the Netherlands to keep tabs on mosques and Muslim organizations after a rise in radicalization eight years ago.
At least ten Dutch towns and cities have secretly used a private agency to probe mosques and other local religious organizations, Amsterdam-based daily het NRC reports in an exclusive investigation.
The clandestine operation — funded by NCTV, the National Security Services, the Netherlands' leading counter-terrorism agency — was prompted by the social unrest and uncertainty following multiple terror attacks in 2013, and a rise in Islamic radicalization.
The NCTV, which advises and financially supports municipalities in countering radicalization, put the municipalities in touch with Nuance by Training and Advice (Nuance door Trainingen en Advies, NTA), a private research agency based in Deventer, Netherlands. Among the institutions targeted by the investigations, which came at a cost of circa 500,000 euros, were the Al Mouahidin mosque in the central Dutch town of Ede, and the Nasser mosque east of the city of Utrecht, according to NRC.
Praying inside a Dutch mosque.
Broken trust in Islamic community
Unlike public officials, the private agency can enter the mosques to clandestinely research the situation. In this case, the agents observed activity, talk to visitors, administrators, and religious leaders, and investigated what they do and say on social media.
All findings then wound up in a secret report which includes personal details about what the administrators and teachers studied, who their relatives are, with whom they argued, and how often they had contact with authorities in foreign countries, like Morocco.
Leaders of the Muslim organizations that were secretly probed say they feel betrayed.
It is unclear whether the practice is legal, which is why several members of the Dutch Parliament are now demanding clarification from the outgoing Minister of Justice and Security, Ferd Grapperhaus, who is said to be involved.
"The ease with which the government violates (fundamental) rights when it comes to Islam or Muslims is shocking," Stephan van Baarle, member of the leftist party DENK, told De Volkskrant, another Dutch newspaper.
Leaders of the Muslim organizations that were secretly probed say they feel betrayed. Hassan Saidi, director of one of the mosques investigated, said that the relationship with the local municipality had been good. "This puts a huge dent in the trust I'd had in the municipality," he told the Dutch public broadcaster NOS.
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