Reuters, Dec. 9, 2002
AMSTERDAM, Dec 9 (Reuters) – Islamic militants linked to the al Qaeda network are succeeding in a drive to recruit young men, in mosques, cafes and prisons, for a “holy war” against the United States, the Dutch secret service warned on Monday.
The report was issued to the Dutch parliament amid growing concern about Islamic militant activity in the Netherlands after two men were accused at a trial in Rotterdam of plotting to set off explosions at the U.S. embassy in Paris.
“The recruitment of these youths shows a violent radical Islamic current is stealthily taking root in Dutch society,” the Dutch secret service, AIVD, said in its report.
The recruiters are legal and illegal immigrants who almost all have a background of fighting in Bosnia or in Afghanistan, AIVD spokesman Vincent van Steen told Reuters. Many were trained in al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan.
The AIVD warned the successful recruitment, also in other western countries, indicated that the threat of “Islamic terrorism” towards western countries was growing.
Several dozens of youths are being trained to partake in the jihad, the report commissioned by the interior ministry said.
“Those recruited in the Netherlands are mostly, but not exclusively, youths of Moroccan origin who were born in the Netherlands or moved here at a very young age,” the report said.
“After the first contact recruits are isolated from their environments and indoctrinated. The recruitment process is completed with a testimony for descendants and a paramilitary training.”
Van Steen said: “The jihad, or holy war against the enemies of Islam, eyes a large group that at the moment includes the U.S., Israel and Great Britain, but also France and in the future perhaps the Netherlands.”
Dutch Interior Minister Johan Remkes called on the Muslim community to recognise recruitment attempts and said that parents, imams and mosques carried an important responsibility to act against those attempts.
He said the Netherlands, which has a large Muslim population, would also continue its integration policy.