"Internet important to radicalisation"

23rd October 2007, Comments 0 comments

23 October 2007, THE HAGUE – Social economic problems or lack of political involvement can lead to radicalisation. But assigning a causal connection is going too far, says Justice Minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin.

23 October 2007

THE HAGUE – Social economic problems or lack of political involvement can lead to radicalisation. But assigning a causal connection is going too far, says Justice Minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin.

In his opening speech at an international conference on radicalisation at the Peace Palace in The Hague on Tuesday he called on academics, policy makers and others to beware of oversimplification in reasoning and explanations. The factors that lead to radicalisation are complex and many, he said.

"It is remarkable that radical individuals in the West are often well educated and lived in comfort. Some young people become radical in groups under the influence of a charismatic leader, others do so in their own circles through self study," Hirsch Ballin said.

The internet plays an important role in spreading radical philosophies, in fostering solidarity and in sharing ways of fighting, Hirsch Ballin said. "Cyberspace is the battlefield. A computer and internet connection are enough to take part in that battle, the keyboard becomes a weapon," the minister said.

Hirsch Ballin regards radicalisation as a process in which individuals want to make deep changes to society and are increasingly prepared to use extreme means to achieve their goals. The conference, an initiative of the ministers of justice and home affairs, is aimed at promoting the exchange of experiences and knowledge.

Former prime minister Ruud Lubbers is chairing the conference, which was organised by the National Coordinator for Anti-terrorism. Lubbers will present the conclusions of the conference on Wednesday.

The cabinet has earmarked EUR 28 million in the coming four years to tackle increasing radicalisation among Muslims and right extremists. That money will mainly go to municipalities, who are being given a more important role in the approach. The accompanying action plan came up against criticism in Parliament earlier this month, however, partly because it is reportedly too vague. A more concrete, detailed version of the plan will be presented next month.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2007]

Subject: Dutch news

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