Dutch Government Aims to Prevent Muslim Radicalization

Ivo Opstelten

The Dutch government introduced a new package of measures on August 29 that will help counter radicalization of Muslims in the country. The move came only a day after police officials announced the arrest of two men who were suspected of recruiting individuals to fight in the ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Syria on behalf of Islamic State.

The new measures include stepping up the government’s powers to deny citizens their Dutch nationality if they are found to be working with terror organizations overseas or teaching at foreign terror training camps. The new measures also hope to counter extremism online and across social media by identifying Internet providers who allow terror groups to spread jihadi propaganda with full knowledge.

“In the Netherlands, there is no room for spreading hate or extremism,” Prime Minister Mark Rutte's government said in a statement.

According to Justice and Security Minister Ivo Opstelten, approximately 130 Dutch citizens have traveled to the Middle East to fight for terror groups like Islamic State and more than 30 of them have already returned home. Government leaders across Europe fear that such returning jihadis, radicalized and hardened by violent conflict and trained to kill, are likely to threaten their respective country’s security.

On Friday, The British government too heightened its threat level from substantial to severe, which means a terrorist attack can take place at any time. Home Secretary Theresa May said the decision was taken bearing in mind recent developments in Iraq and Syria, but she reassured citizens that there was no information to suggest an immediate attack.

Netherlands has a total population of 17 million people of which approximately 1 million people identify as Muslims. Opstelten said that the local authorities are trying to work with moderate Muslims to effectively tackle the spread of Islamic radicalization.

Photo Credit: The Telegraph

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