January 10, 2014
Amsterdam’s city council plans to spend 400,000Euros encouraging ethnic minorities to vote in the upcoming local elections. Turnout in local elections is usually 50% and the city council wants to see an increase to 65%. To do this the city is planning a ‘specific approach to target specific groups’, says mayor van der Laan. Some parties oppose the move, and D66 campaign leader Jan Paternotte commented “City council money should be used to reach all Amsterdammers, not just ethnic minority voters.” The campaign has been spearheaded by a member of the Labour party, which has a high level of support among people with Turkish, Moroccan and Surinamese backgrounds.
Dutch News: http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2014/01/local_elections_amsterdam_earm.php
January 15, 2014
Two individuals have been arrested in the Netherlands on suspicion of helping a 15 year old girl travel to Syria. Friends of the girl contacted the police, who stopped the girl before she boarded a plane. The investigation into the girl’s plans led to the couple – a 20 year old man and 17 year old woman – who were then arrested.
Dutch News: http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2014/01/two_arrested_after_15-year-old.php
January 9, 2014
A Belgian appeal court has found three men from Amsterdam, of Moroccan origin, guilty of membership in a terrorist organization. They were said to have collected money and recruited fighters for Chechnya, though charges of conspiring to launch a terrorist attack in Belgium were dropped.
The men deny any involvement in terrorism. One is a former youth worker in Amsterdam West and was a well respected community figure. The men were arrested in 2010 and deported to Belgium in 2011, where they were among 14 suspects involved in the appeal trial. The lower court had found the men not guilty.
Dutch News: http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2014/01/belgian_appeal_court_jails_ams.php
December 20, 2013
Dutch politician Geert Wilders has recently generated public controversy after posting a sticker on the door of his parliamentary office resembling a Saudi Arabian flag and reading “Islam is a lie, Mohammed is a criminal, the Koran is poison.”
The government condemned the sticker, with deputy prime minister Lodewijk Asscher calling it ‘disgusting’ and aimed only at hurting people. Foreign minister Frans Timmermans stated that, “Insulting their religion is not the way to combat extremism but plays into extremists’ hands… the Dutch government is distancing itself from this.”
Lobby group Landelijk Beraad Marokkanen, led by former GroenLinks MP Mohammed Rabbae also issued a complaint against the sticker.
Following the attention to the sticker, Wilders established an email account to field comments, firstname.lastname@example.org. He later claimed that Gmail had blocked the account.
Dutch News (1): http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2013/12/government_condemns_wilders_an.php
Dutch News (2): http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2013/12/gmail_blocks_wilders_anti-isla.php
December 11, 2013
A Dutch couple kidnapped in Yemen in June have been released, according to the foreign affairs ministry. Journalist Judith Spiegel and Boudewijn Berendsen were taken from their house in Sana’a. The couple returned to the Netherlands on Wednesday.
Spiegel denied speculation that the captors were affiliated with Al Qaeda, saying “…I know there were many rumours that we were in the hands of Al-Qaeda, but I’m not so sure about that.” No information is known regarding their abductors, nor if a ransom was paid to the kidnappers.
AFP reports that hundreds of people have been kidnapped in Yemen over the past 15 years, mostly by tribesman and nearly all of them later freed unharmed. Yemen’s powerful tribes often kidnap foreigners to use them as bargaining chips in disputes with the central government. Al-Qaeda militants have also seized foreigners in the country.
October 31, 2013
Last week, Nos television reported that a Dutch man had been jailed for planning to travel to Syria to take part in armed resistance against president Assad. Ignition fuses, aluminum powder and instructions for making explosives were among items found in his home.
The Rotterdam district court ruled that making preparations to travel to Syria, including buying a plane ticket and collecting funds, can be seen as preparation for murder and is punishable by law. The ruling is significant for the public prosecution of the Netherlands because until now there has been no jurisprudence on the issue, and this ruling will have implications for others planning to travel to Syria for similar purposes. The Public Prosecutor’s Office publicly commented on its support of the verdict.
In addition to jailing one man for a year on these grounds, a second man has been sent to a psychiatric hospital for the same intention. Mohammed G. collected money, cancelled rent, packed bags, and read ‘Jihadist texts’ as preparation for fighting in Syria. However, the man suffers from psychoses and will not receive a sentence but rather must go to a psychiatric hospital.
Dutch News: http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2013/10/dutch_jail_man_for_preparing_t.php
NIS News: http://www.nisnews.nl/court-rules-preparing-for-jihad-is-a-crime.html
October 23, 2013
Nos television reports that a Dutch man has been jailed for planning to travel to Syria to take part in armed resistance against President Assad. The court ruled that making preparations to travel to Syria, including buying a plane ticket and collecting funds, can be seen as preparation for murder and is punishable by law. The ruling is significant for the public prosecution department of the Netherlands because until now there has been no jurisprudence on the issue, and this ruling will have implications for other planning to travel to Syria for similar purposes. In addition to jailing one man for a year on these grounds, a second man has been sent to a psychiatric hospital for the same intention.
Dutch News – http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2013/10/dutch_jail_man_for_preparing_t.php
October 22, 2013
With reference to a 2011 case in which a Dutch court found politician Geert Wilders not guilty of inciting hatred against Muslims, lawyer Gerard Sprong has asked the court for a reconsideration. The ruling of the earlier case, which developed as a response to Wilders’ anti-Islam statements and the release of his online movie Fitna, will not be affected and there is no question of Wilders receiving punishment. Rather, Sprong is requesting a clear ruling on whether Wilders was guilty of discrimination and inciting hatred with an eye to similar future cases, he told TV programme Pauw & Witteman.
Dutch News: http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2013/10/lawyer_wants_wilders_inciting.php
15 September 2012
A planned demonstration involving about 30 people took place on Amsterdam’s Dam Square on 14 September, protesting the American-made film Innocence of Muslims. Local media provided commentary on the movie and the international response of the past week, with Radio Netherlands Worldwide attributing the violent events to “a dismal misunderstanding” in which “the work of an extremist individual [the filmmaker]” is taken as representative of the American nation. Dutch News reports that in anticipation of the demonstration the American consulate on Amsterdam’s Museumplein, as well as two schools in the neighborhood, closed early.
17 July 2012
The death of 64-year-old Aziz Kara, a man of Turkish descent in the Netherlands, has sparked calls for police investigation. Kara died after allegedly being struck by his neighbor Henk W. and hitting his head on the ground. Other neighbors report that Henk and his wife had “never made a secret of the fact they dislike Turks but have also antagonized their native Dutch neighbors”, Dutch News reports. Turkish organizations in the country are calling for an investigation into the conflict focusing on its “social and community aspects.”