Wednesday 20 November 2019

Dutch government outlines plans to tackle jihadis, radicalisation

Dutch ministers on Friday agreed a package of measures to combat the growth of Muslim radicalisation and stop youngsters travelling abroad to take part in jihad, or holy war.

‘There is no room for spreading hatred or extremism in the Netherlands,’ social affairs minister Lodewijk Asscher and justice minister Ivo Opstelten said in a briefing to MPs. ‘The jihadist movement is the opposite of everything our country stands for.’

Around 120 Dutch nationals are thought to be fighting with organisations such as IS and at least 30 have since returned home. On Thursday, police arrested three people in connection with recruiting Dutch Muslims to the jihadi cause and for spreading hatred on the internet.

Nationality

In an effort to discourage young Dutch Muslims from signing up to terrorist movements, ministers plan to increase the options for withdrawing Dutch nationality from dual nationals.

This is to be extended to people who take part in a terrorist training camp or work in them as instructors, the ministers said. New legislation to this effect will be introduced in parliament next week.

Currently people can lose their Dutch nationality if they join a terrorist organisation or a foreign army which is involved in a war with the Netherlands or one of its allies.

Returnees

More measures are being introduced to deal with people returning to the Netherlands from conflict zones. They may be ordered to report to the police at given times or banned from contacting certain people, the ministers’ briefing said.

In addition, if people are suspected of making plans to travel to a conflict zone and join up with a terrorist organisation like IS, their passports may be declared invalid.

Ministers are also considering setting up an anonymous hotline to report potential jihadis.

Internet

A special police team will focus on the spreading of jihadist messages and hatred using social media and officials hope to make agreements with internet website providers about blocking access to such material.

Efforts will also be made to tackle the root causes of radicalisation by involving social workers, teachers and other experts and helping them spot youngsters who are in danger of going off the rails.

In addition, there will be help for youngsters who wish to escape the clutches of radical groups ‘under strict conditions’.

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