AMSTERDAM — Interior Minister Johan Remkes has voiced concern about radicalism among young Muslims in the Netherlands following a report about growing attempts to recruit them for a Jihad or holy war.
Remkes made signalled his disquiet in the forward of a report compiled by the Dutch security service AIVD about recruitment processes employed by Islamic extremist groups in the Netherlands.
In its report presented to MPs, the AIVD claimed ‘several dozen’ people were wiling to get involved in violent activities.
The security agency also warned that aside from ideological motivations, events such as the invasion of Iraq and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict were helping to make young Muslims susceptible to radicalisation.
The AIVD report said that a “growing number of Muslims” felt they were being misled by opinion makers and opinion leaders” in the Netherlands, and this left them more open to being influenced by extremists.
The report identified three groups of young people who were prepared to get involved in Jihad. The first group, the AIVD said, consisted of a small number of native Dutch people who had converted to Islam.
The second was made up of immigrants who had only recently moved to the Netherlands, while the third consisted of second or third-generation immigrants who were born in the Netherlands or who were raised here from an early age.
The AIVD said that it had noted over the last 18 months that the age profile of people targeted for recruitment was getting younger. The report said however that some teens may only want to impress their friends.
Another trend identified by the report was a move to recruit highly-educated people and women, even though all recruiters – as far as can be established – appear to be men.
Attempts to recruit people for Jihad are not exclusively centred on mosques, the report said. Young people are also been approached in their homes, at functions in rented rooms and in prisons.
The AIVD singled out the internet as another important contact point for Islamic extremists looking to sign up new recruits.
The report describes the situation posed a “considerable threat” to Dutch society and to international order” and urges the government to tackle the problem without stigmatising immigrants. To do so would be corn for the mill of radical Islamic politics.