Fewer Dutch Muslims to Travel to Mecca for Hajj

25 September 2013

 

Newspaper Trouw reports that the number of Dutch Muslims planning to travel to Mecca this year has almost halved in comparison to previous years. 16 travel agencies in the Netherlands are allotted 5,000 visas a year from Saudi Arabia to allow Dutch Muslims to make the journey. This year some agencies still have half their visa allocations left, with the Hajj taking place in mid October. Trouw suggests that the economic crisis accounts for the drop in numbers, with the trip costing between 3,500- 5,000 Euros per person.

Dutch Woman Arrested for “Recruiting Syria Jihadists”

media_xll_177628822 July 2013

 

A 19 year old woman suspected of recruiting individuals to fight in Syria has been arrested in the Netherlands. Police arrested the woman in the city of Zoetermeer, and she is to be remanded for two weeks while an investigation is underway.

Oum Usama is a Dutch national of Somali origin. The arrest appears to be in part precipitated by complaints of several parents of Dutch Muslims who have traveled to Syria. The complaints name those who are allegedly enlisting fighters, whom AD alleges hold ideological motivations. The woman remains in custody and has not commented through a lawyer, and the Public Prosecutor declines to offer further information regarding the charges or alleged recruitment activities.

Oum Usama’s arrest led to protest online and small demonstrations outside of Dutch embassies in the UK and Germany. The website “True Religion” published a letter warning of potential consequences for the arrest. It remains unclear who is behind the campaign. The National Coordinator for Counterterrorism in the Netherlands says that it remains aware of the situation but as yet sees no reason to take action.

There is growing concern in the Netherlands about Dutch Muslims being enlisted to fight in Syria. A study by the International Center for the Study of Radicalization at King’s College London stated that at least 107 Dutch nationals were fighting in Syria. Public prosecutors have said that while authorities cannot stop would be fighters from leaving the country, they can combat recruitment, which is against the law and carries a sentence of up to four years in jail or a fine of 78,000 Euros.

Amsterdam lawyer Bart Nooitgedagt says such cases are difficult to prove and there have been no successful prosecutions of Muslims on recruitment charges to date.

Dutch Woman Arrested for “Recruiting Syria Jihadists”

22 July 2013

 

A 19 year old woman suspected of recruiting individuals to fight in Syria has been arrested in the Netherlands. Police arrested the woman in the city of Zoetermeer, and she is to be remanded for two weeks while an investigation is underway.

There is growing concern in the Netherlands about Dutch Muslims being enlisted to fight in Syria. Public prosecutors have said that while authorities cannot stop would be fighters from leaving the country, they can combat recruitment, which is against the law and carries a sentence of up to four years in jail or a fine of 78,000 Euros.

Dutch Muslims Celebrate Ramadan 2013

July 11 2013

 

Dutch Muslims began celebration of Ramadan on July 10. The month coincides with summer holidays in the Netherlands, and many Muslims in the Netherlands spend Ramadan in their home countries. Those who spend Ramadan in the Netherlands attend social and cultural activities, including attending planned Iftar programs in local mosques. Major cities such as Amsterdam and Rotterdam have built Iftar tents in the most popular sites to welcome Muslim and non-Muslim visitors.

The president of the Federation of Turkish Islamic Culture (TIKDF) Arif Yakisir said that 143 mosques linked to the federation planned to organize Iftar programs every day.

Dutch Muslims Polled for Support of Youth Fighting in Syria

May 29 2013

 

Dutch television show Altijd Wat  has broadcast a poll stating that almost 75% of Dutch Muslims consider youth  travelling to Syria to fight against Assad’s regime to be heroes. The show’s publicity states “In general, Dutch Muslims consider the Syria fighters to be doing what the UN is failing to do, which is battling president Assad’s regime”.

By contrast, “70% of the native Dutch population say they are not heroes”, according to ANP.

 

Poll Background:

The Altijd Wat program is based on research by Motivaction, a research firm based in the Netherlands. Motivaction conducted an poll measuring opinions about the civil war in Syria and Dutch Muslims who travel to Syria to fight (“Syrie-gangers”) The opinion poll canvassed 370 Dutch Muslim and 570 ethnic Dutch individuals for their opinions.

The poll found a great difference in opinions between Dutch Muslims who tended to believe that those traveling to Syria were in accordance with the UN call to act, while ethnic Dutch respondents had much less strong feelings about the war.

Other conclusions in the research include:
-Dutch Muslims are more concerned about events in Syria and want the Assad regime to end as soon as possible.

-The majority of Dutch Muslims approve of the Dutch fight alongside Muslims in Syria; most ethnic Dutch are not in favour.

-Most Dutch Muslims support providing humanitarian aid to Syrian refugees in Turkey.

-Dutch Muslims are more likely than ethnic Dutch to support the provision of weapons to insurgents.

-Ethnic Dutch are more strictly against Muslims traveling to Syria than Dutch Muslims.

-Ethnic Dutch feel recruiters should be punished.

 

Netherlands Raises Terror Threat Level From Limited to Substantial

March 13 2013

 

The Dutch National Counterterrorist and Safety Coordinator (NCTV) has raised the threat of a terror attack in the Netherlands from “limited” to “substantial”. The government’s anti-terror organization made the announcement on the grounds that increased risk stems from radicalized individuals returning to the country from fighting in the Middle East, specifically Syria. In a statement the NCTV said, “the number of those jihadists travelling from the Netherlands to Syria has rapidly increased… There is a risk that those who travel for jihad pick up experience in conflict areas and upon return to the Netherlands form a threat because they could come back radicalized, traumatized and willing to commit violence.”

 

In related coverage, immediately preceding the elevation of the national threat level, Nos television reported that up to 100 Dutch Muslims are currently fighting in Syria and other countries such as Afghanistan and Somalia.  According to Nos, the Netherlands is one of the biggest suppliers of European fighters, some affiliated with the Al Nusra movement which aims to create an Islamic state in Syria.

Dutch Muslims Report Increasing Religiosity

6 November 2012 

Dutch Muslims are visiting mosques in the Netherlands at least once a week, according to a survey conducted by the national policy unit SCP. While the previous SCP survey in 2004 suggested a decrease in religiosity among the country’s Muslims, this most recent update suggests that this is no longer the case, particularly among Muslims of Moroccan origin (a population in which the number of mosque-attending individuals rose from 9% to 33% from 1998-2011).
According to the SCP, second generation Muslims who worship regularly feel a stronger bond with their family homeland than with the Netherlands.

Critiquing Salafism in the Netherlands

4 September 2012

 

Radio Netherlands Worldwide profiles Izzeddin Ruhulessin, a young convert to Islam, and his assessment of the Salafist movement in the Netherlands. According to the article, Salafism gained in prominence in the country in the years following the 2004 murder of film maker Theo van Gogh. Researcher Martijn de Koning attributes the popularity to “second and third generation immigrants who are looking for an alternative to the traditional Islam that was brought by their parents or grandparents from the countries of origin.”

Ruhulessin suggests that Salafism is now declining in popularity, with other Muslims irritated by the strict requirements for orthodoxy and emphasis on external appearance upheld by the movement. The dynamic is particularly visible online, which sees both a strong and popular Salafist presence in internet forums used by young Dutch Muslims, as well as an increasingly vocal critique on venues such as Face Book.

Dutch Muslims Search for Schooling

February 15 2011

Following an announcement by Education Minister Marja van Bijsterveldt that Amsterdam’s only Islamic secondary school will be closing due to too few pupils, the city’s orthodox Muslims are searching for other schooling options. Many are reluctant to send their children through the mainstream education system, as they feel these schools can restrict their children or make them feel unwelcome. Increasingly parents are embracing home schooling as an option for providing religious education, though the city’s Executive Councilor for Education thinks the plan is a bad idea.

Wikileaks Reveals US Courted Dutch Muslims

January 21 2011

Wikileaks documents have revealed a concerted effort by Washington to court a series of prominent Dutch Muslims in the wake of the 2004 murder of filmmaker Theo van Gogh. Radio Netherlands Worldwide reports that, following the murder, US authorities deemed the Netherlands home to the most poorly integrated Muslim community in Europe, and one with strongly anti-American views. Consequently, diplomats were instructed to contact leading members of the Dutch Muslim community in order to cultivate greater understanding for American views. This process also involved offering trips to the US for prominent journalists and politicians including Ahmed Aboutaleb, Mayor of Rotterdam.