Netherlands: Do half of Dutch Muslims understand the 9/11 attackers?

Netherlands: Do half of Dutch Muslims understand the 9/11 attackers?

Recent polls give the PVV 16-20 seats (NL). A drop from the expected 27 seats the party had in a poll last year, but still an improvement over its current 9.

This article was prepared by the Islam in Europe blog -
Geert Wilders' election spot, with English subtitles.

Dutch newspaper Trouw wonders (NL) where does Wilders get his data from:

Large letters on the screen in Geert Wilders' election spot: "Half of Dutch Muslims understand the attacks of September 11."

Half?  It's been quite a while since a study was done about the Dutch understanding for the attacks.  The last time was in 2006 - five years after the moment that the Twin Towers were hit by two hijacked airplanes and consequently collapsed.  That study didn't show that half of the Muslim could understand it.  Almost no Muslim participated - barely 1% - and the result was that 9% of the Dutch could understand the perpetrators.  That was the same percentage as two weeks after the attacks, in 2001.  But those are not the studies Geert Wilders is referring to.

Maybe he's referring to a study two days after 9/11, performed only among immigrants.  But also there the results don't show what Wilders claims in his spot.  73% of respondents then said they could understand the attacks.  That didn't mean they also approved of the attacks: 6% of the respondents answered that question in the positive.

The figures were shocking, and after the publication there was criticism of the research methods of the agency which carried out the study.  It didn't explain that the term in Dutch meant 'having sympathy' and not 'comprehending'.


Before posting this, I thought I'd try to look it up too.  I googled and within seconds found the following article (NL) from September 20, 2001.  Now the question is, where did Trouw get their data from?   

Half of the Muslims in the Netherlands: understand the US attacks.

That almost half of the Muslims in the Netherlands show complete understanding for the attacks in the US, is because of their involvement in the Middle East, says director A. Aboutaleb of Forum, the Institute for Multicultural Development.

He says he's not surprised about the results of the survey.  "Dutch Muslims have for a long time felt very involved with the Palestinians."

The survey of the multicultural weekly Contrast, a publication of Forum, differentiates between 'understanding' and 'approving'.  Of the 47.7% who said they could understand the attacks, 7.4% also indeed approved it.

The study was conducted in the week after the attack, among a representative group of 426 Dutc Muslims.  The involvement with problems in the Middle East, may not be a permit, says Forum director Aboutaleb, to justify the terrorist violence in America 'out of personal frustrations'.

Aboutaleb agrees with the importance of a dialog between migrants and ethnic Dutch.  PM Kok thinks that Dutch society shouldn't accept that the attacks in the US are approved of.  Whoever does that, should be broached about it, says Kok.  "But don't write off people too quickly.  We should keep society whole and indicate to people their responsibility," the PM said on the Network TV Show.

Minister Van Boxtel (integration policy), who spoke of his concern about the survey results, wants to speak with key figures from the Muslim community in the Netherlands.  He wants them to point out to their followers the responsibility that immigrants in the Netherlands have.  In the past week there were a number of incidents in the Netherlands.  Moroccan youth in Ede went out in the streets after the attacks in the US to express their joy.  Some people say this shows the failure of the Dutch integration policy.  Van Boxtel rejects that notion.  "In comparison with other countries the relationship between ethnic Dutch and immigrants is peaceful here.  Sometimes there are problems, but in generally, integration is going well."

The survey was conducted by Foquz Etnomarketing.  The respondents were also asked if they could the joy of some Muslims about the attacks.  More than a third (36.9%) could, less than a third (29.3%) couldn't understand that people celebrated the attack on American targets and another 28.6% could understand the joy of coreligionists 'a little'.

To the question if they approved or rejected the joy, almost half (48.8%) said that they rejected the celebrating Muslim youth in the streets of Ede or the cheers of Muslims in the Palestinian territories.

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