Muslim communities increasingly resistant to radicalisation

Muslim communities in the Netherlands increasingly oppose radicalisation and violence perpetrated in the name of Islam. It is not only moderate and liberal Muslims but also a growing number of orthodox believers who are joining in the debate and publicly distancing themselves from Islamic groups that advocate violence.

That is the conclusion of the National Anti-Terrorism Coordinator (NCTb) in his latest quarterly report analysing the terrorist threat in the Netherlands. Parliament was apprised of this positive development today in a letter by Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner and Interior Minister Johan Remkes. Attempts to radicalise the Muslim community via the Internet have increased in both scale and intensity. Besides radical sites and discussion forums, there is a great deal of militant training material on the Internet that can be easily accessed. Much of the material is undeniably professional in nature. Now that most of the physical training camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan have disappeared, many militants are falling back on virtual training instructions on the Internet.

The terrorist threat to the Netherlands remains “substantial”. In other words, there is a realistic chance that a terrorist attack will take place in the Netherlands, possibly involving suicide bombers. Although a number of members of the Hofstad network have been arrested, a general terrorist threat remains. The Dutch authorities responsible for national security are investigating various terrorist networks, the best-known example of which is the Hofstad network. Although public interest in the Hofstad network is understandable, it should not lead to threats from other networks being ignored or underestimated. A further factor is that radicalisation has continued unabated among a small percentage of the total Muslim population and some converts. The number of women committing themselves to violence is growing both in the Netherlands and internationally.