The security services and social workers are more alert to the problems of radicalised youngsters now than they were in 2013 when a 16-year-old Amsterdam boy ran away to Syria, says counter-terrorism chief Dick Schoof.
The boy, named as Ashraf, died in Syria this week at the age of 17. His father had repeatedly tried to get official help for the teenager before he left the country and even asked the police to cancel his passport.
Schoof told current affairs programme Nieuwsuur on Wednesday night that the chance of this happening now has been considerably reduced. ‘Officials are much more aware of the circles radicalised Muslims move in,’ he said.
Nevertheless, there are always people who manage to slip through, Schoof said.
Amsterdam mayor Eberhard van der Laan also said on Wednesday he could not guarantee that all radicalised Muslims could be stopped from leaving.
And Bernt Schneiders, chairman of the association of Dutch mayors, told Nos radio that there is no ‘ready to use’ method for council officials who are confronted with such situations.
There needs to be an improvement in the information exchange between council officials to ensure best practices, he told Radio 1 news.
‘We have to join forces and compare experiences,’ the mayor of Haarlem said.
Mayors, he said, are in the right place to be in the front line because they are close to their local populations, Schneiders said.
Meanwhile, education minister Jet Bussemaker says in an interview with Trouw that schools and teachers should be more involved in combating radicalisation. ‘They cannot look away,’ she said. ‘They must always engage.’
Schools, she said, could think more about their role in society as a place where different people come together.
According to the AD, two men from The Hague have now also been killed in the Syrian city of Kobani. Both had left for Syria in 2013.
One, named as Soufian Z, made a short film about Dutch jihadis called Oh Oh Aleppo, a pastiche title on a reality soap. He also claimed that Dutch jihadis would not be a danger if they returned home.
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