The Dutch terrorist network known as the Hofstad group is typical of Muslim fundamentalist groupings throughout Europe, says Edwin Bakker of the Clingendael Institute in his new book Jihadi Terrorists in Europe.
The Dutch terrorists are ‘a bit younger’ than their counterparts elsewhere who are on average 27.5 years old, says Bakker. ‘You could describe the Hofstad boys as forerunners of a new trend,’ he tells the Volkskrant. ‘Since their arrests more younger jihadists have emerged.’
Most of Europe’s terrorists are born or brought up in the west, but are largely from North African or Pakistani origin. Bakker says he found no links to Al Qaida in recent years. ‘Terrorism is an internal European problem,’ he tells the paper.
In total 14 men went on trial for alleged involvement in the Hofstad group – a name invented by the secret service. Last March, three were sentenced to jail, six were found guilty but released as they had already served their sentence in the period leading up to the trial, and five were found not guilty.
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