Netherlands: AIVD report on radical Islam

The non-violent variant of radical Islam is winning ground in the Netherlands and Europe, according to a new report by Dutch intelligence service AIVD about radical Islam in the Netherlands. Though this variant of radical Islam is non violent, it may very well lead to problems in the relations between Muslims themselves and between Muslims and non-Muslims, says the intelligence service.

Radicalization, polarization and social isolation are the results, warns the AIVD.

The good news is that according to the AIVD the violent form of radical Islam barely finds support in the Dutch Muslim community. The clout of jihadists in the Netherlands is therefore curtailed, although the consequences of an attack will be great. The terrorist violence finds less and less support in Muslim circles.

But another form of radical Islam is growing. This is Islamic movements who strive for strict adherence to Islamic law. They take a plain stand against Western society, but don't preach violence in order to achieve their goals.

It's a creeping process that can lead to a growing part of the Muslim community turning away physically and mentally from Dutch society.

In the long term a sharp growth in radical Islam can lead to tensions between ethnic and religious groups and an increased polarization in society, according to the AIVD.

According to the AIVD Dutch society is already disturbed by the rise of radical Islam. Free debate about Islam is impeded by fear of repercussions. Women under pressure of radicals don't make use of basic rights such as work and education.

Homosexuals must sometimes fear for their lives. According to the intelligence service there is "at the least" an issue of "partial disfunctioning of the democratic legal system."

Initially radical Islam came from abroad, but recently the movement gained independence and professionalized.

In the Netherlands neo-radicalism is especially expressed from within salafism, an ultra-orthodox movement in Islam. The four spearheads of salafism in the Netherlands are the al-Tawheed mosque in Amsterdam, the al-Fourkaan mosque in Eindhoven, the as-Soenah mosque in the Hague and the Islamic Association for Education and Transfer of Knowledge (Islamitische Stichting voor Opvoeding en Overdracht van Kennis) in Tilburg.

But the new generation of preaches also gives lectures in about 30 Moroccan mosques across the country. That means that the number of location where radical Islam is disseminated has doubled in the past two years.

The preaches turn especially to the 2nd generation Dutch Moroccans. Young Muslims seem especially sensitive to radicalization in their quest for identity. The lectures are often attended by about 100 young Muslims.

But the AIVD also warns that the image shaped by some people that radical Islam is a powerful movement that will soon topple the Dutch political system, is incorrect.

Must Dutch Muslims don't feel any ideological affinity with this movement. They even see its ultra-orthodox character as intimidating.

According to estimates by the AIVD about 5% of the religiously oriented Muslim population is susceptible to radicalization. Of this 5% about 10% radicalize in the end. In total that's about 0.5% of the Muslim population.

Sybrand van Hulst, head of the AIVD, hopes that the participants in the raging debate about Islam in the Netherlands will handle the results of the study carefully. "Biased assessments of the problematics can easily lead to exaggerated reactions. Such reaction can strengthen the already existing mistrust between population groups," says Van Hulst.

Source: NOS (Dutch)

See also: Netherlands: Terror report

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