Counter terrorism unit warned in secret reports about polarising politicians


The Dutch counter terrorism agency NCTV warned several times in secret reports about the polarisation of society by political parties, the NRC reported on Tuesday.

The paper bases its claim on documents obtained using freedom of information legislation. The far right PVV and Forum voor Democratie, as well as pro-immigrant Denk are all mentioned in the files, the paper said.

Denk, founded by two Dutch Turkish PvdA MPs, is described as ‘stage for political Salafism within parliament’ which spreads the idea that Muslims are treated differently to non Muslims in the Netherlands. This, the agency said, could stimulate ‘a lack of trust in government and feed potential anti-democratic tendencies.’

The NCTV, which is part of the justice ministry, also warns that Geert Wilders’ PVV is ‘distancing itself much less from the extreme right’ and is pitting ‘the Dutch’ against ‘foreigners’. He also uses hashtags which have been taken over by extreme right wing groups, the agency said.

The examples quoted by the NRC date from 2017 and 2018, and it is unclear if more recent claims have been made about politicians. The agency told the paper that its warnings, made in 159 weekly reports, are a thing of the past and that it no longer collects such information.

That decision was made last year, after the NRC revealed that the agency was monitoring the online activities of private individuals and religious leaders as well as activists and politicians.

Denk leader Farid Azarkan said the reports’ comments were ‘tenuous and framing’, while Wilders said he would study the claims.

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