1,400 Amsterdam Muslims are potential extremists

AMSTERDAM — Research has indicated that more than 1,400 young Muslims in Amsterdam, or 2 percent of the capital’s Islamic population, are potential extremists.

The University of Amsterdam academics identified the potential extremists as 16 to 18-year-olds of Moroccan and Turkish origin with a high school education.

They would be socially isolated and display a deep distrust of the political system, newspaper ‘De Telegraaf’ reported on Wednesday.

“These people do not form a threat for Dutch society,” the researchers stressed, adding that the youths may not actually become extremists.

Instead, the academics said the youths were susceptible to radicalisation because of their very orthodox beliefs combined with deep dissatisfaction with the debate over Islam in the Netherlands.

Amsterdam Mayor Job Cohen, who commissioned the study, said the number of potential extremists was “substantial”.

But he said the city council had launched several initiatives to prevent radicalism following the murder of Theo van Gogh in 2004, such as the ‘Wij Amsterdammers’ project aimed at preventing intolerance and discrimination.

The report from the Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies (IMES) of the University of Amsterdam comes after a similar warning was issued earlier this week.

On Monday, the Dutch anti-terrorism co-ordination point NCTb raised concerns about the worsening extremism of Turkish youths.

But the University of Amsterdam researchers are optimistic that measures against radicalisation can be successful.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Saturday October 21, 2006.
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