Expatica news

Minister told to ramp up anti-terror fight

16 March 2004

AMSTERDAM — Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner must intensify efforts to prevent terrorist attacks in the Netherlands and is too “lax and naive” in tackling extremist Muslims, Liberal VVD parliamentary leader Jozias van Aartsen has claimed.

Van Aartsen urged his coalition government Christian Democrat CDA colleague on Monday to get tougher, claiming he was failing to take sufficient action against the problem, news agency ANP reported.

As suspicions grow that Islamic extremists were responsible for the Madrid bombings, Van Aartsen said Donner must rid himself of naivety and crackdown on religious groups that spread “hate and extremism” and recruit Islamic youth for the Muslim holy war Jihad.

His criticism comes after Liberal VVD Interior Minister Johan Remkes also voiced concern last week about radicalism among young Muslims in the Netherlands.

Remkes signalled his disquiet in a report compiled by the secret service AIVD about growing attempts to recruit Islamic youth for Jihad by Islamic extremist groups.

The AIVD claimed “several dozen” people were keen to volunteer for violent activities and warned events such as the invasion of Iraq and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict made young Muslims susceptible to radicalisation.

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 internet as another important point of contact, the report said.

The latest report comes after the AIVD indicated in 2003 that there were at least 100 extremists active on Dutch soil. The secret service also identified the southern Dutch city Eindhoven as a hotbed of Islamic extremism.

Meanwhile, Van Aartsen believes that legislation should be sharpened allowing the Public Prosecution (OM) to use information gathered by the AIVD in court.

Two terror trials at the end of 2002 and in 2003 ended in acquittals because the AIVD evidence was dismissed. The prosecution has since appealed both rulings and Donner is awaiting the outcomes before deciding to implement legislative change.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news