Dutch minister opposes new law to criminalise ‘glorifying violence’

Justice minister Ivo Opstelten has rejected calls for the government to bring in a new law making it a crime to glorify terrorist violence.

Christian Democrat MPs have called for a change in the law following the murder of US journalist James Foley by the Islamic State. The government is currently not doing enough to tackle the problem, CDA leader Sybrand Buma said on Thursday.

Thought police

Opstelten said in a reaction he is not in favour of the introduction of ‘thought police’. ‘There is freedom of expression,’ the minister is quoted as saying.

Nevertheless, the authorities must come down hard on inciting hatred and terrorism and anti-semitic statements and they already have various measures at their disposal, Opstelten said.

The radicialisation of Dutch youngsters remains a key concern. Dozens of young men and women planning to join jihadist movements have had their passports removed and lost their rights to benefits, the minister said.


There is also little support for the introduction of new legislation among other political parties.

While supporting a tough line on hard core offenders, ‘we should not arrest every recalcitrant teenager who sends out one stupid tweet,’ VVD MP Klaas Dijkhoff said.

‘But as soon as thoughts shift to promoting violence, you must act,’ Labour MP Jeroen Recourt is quoted as saying by broadcaster Nos.

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According to the Telegraaf, the justice ministry has set up a special police team focusing on radical Muslims in the Netherlands.

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