AMSTERDAM — A new centre for the study of radicalism and extremism has been established in Amsterdam.
The Centrum voor Radicalisme en Extremisme Studies (CRES) is being hosted by the University of Amsterdam (UvA) and will bring together researchers from various universities to advance the study of religious radicalisation in the Netherlands.
Researcher Frank Buijs of UvA’s Institute of Migration and Ethnic Studies decided there was a need for the new academic centre while he was researching radicalisation of Moroccan youth on behalf of the Ministry for Immigration and Integration.
The study found 40 percent of the Moroccan youth in the Netherlands reject western values and democracy. Six to seven percent are prepared to use force to defend Islam.
The majority are opposed to freedom of speech for offensive statements, particularly criticism of Islam. Buijs is the first director of CRES, which will provide information to people who come into contact with radicalism as part of their work.
Buijs said on Wednesday that the government must provide alternatives for Salafism, a contemporary movement in Sunni Islam that seeks a return to the ‘pure Islam’ of the days of Mohammed.
Salafism is a gaining ground in the Netherlands and Buijs said the government must do more to stimulate a more pluralistic form of Islam. Buijs and his colleagues discuss the issue in a new book ‘Strijders van eigen bodem – radicale en democratische moslims in Nederland’ (home-grown warriors – radical and democratic Muslims in the Netherlands).
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