For the fourth time in two years time, a Dutch jihadi has committed a suicide attack in Iraq or Syria. It has been said, but not yet confirmed, that Lotfi S. from northern Amsterdam has committed a suicide attack in Fallujah, Iraq.
The question is: shouldn’t we be ashamed when a fellow countryman is capable of such a deed? Or: are we ashamed at all?
According to Paul van Tongeren, professor Ethics, the answer is no, because ‘we don’t identify ourselves with these guys’. There is however a problem with this mechanism of ‘looking the other way’, as has also been stated by Ben Bot, Dutch former minister Foreign Affairs: it is our problem, because our society was not able to prevent these persons from leaving.
The attacks committed by fellow countrymen would probably have a greater impact when it was known how many victims it has caused, if among them are children or if photo’s would be published. But now it is all too abstract.
Pieter Nanninga, researcher on jihadism Rijksuniversiteit in the city of Groningen, shares Bots opinion that Dutch suicide attackers are indeed a Dutch problem too.
Van Tongeren further states that it would be a good if the Dutch government paid her condolences to the families of the victims. Otherwise the We-They distinction would become even stricter, incorporating more than only terrorists or jihadi’s.
25 May 2012
Police intervened to break up an impromptu camp established by failed asylum seekers near Ter Apel, the Netherlands. Riot police arriving in 20 minibuses used force to dismantle the site and arrested about 110 individuals at the site, failed asylum seekers from Iran and Somalia who claim that they will come to harm if returned to their country of origin. A group of Iraqi asylum seekers, involved in the camp’s original set up two weeks ago, had been removed earlier to an apartment complex where they were guaranteed housing until June 15 as the Dutch and Iraqi immigration ministers negotiate next steps.
Meanwhile a judge in Groningen determined that the level of response and force in the deconstruction was “disproportional”. The defended actions claiming that it was a necessary measure due to the health concerns at the impromptu camp.
A mosque in Groningen was smeared with blood, and animal innards and the head of a boar left at the site, NU.nl reports. Deputy mayor Frank de Vries spoke out against the action, saying, “this doesn’t belong in our city. We immediately promised the mosque board our support.” Police have opened an investigation.
While Muslims in the Netherlands are often regarded as ‘strange’ and ‘different,’ a recent study shows that imams often use their sermons to discuss values and issues which the mainstream Dutch population also believes is important. Fred Leemhuis, professor of Arabic at Groningen University, is using the research on Dutch imams for his PhD dissertation, which includes analyzation of six randomly chosen imams from different ethnic backgrounds, in addition to extensive interviewing of the imams. In a parallel study Pieter van Oudenhoven, a social psychologist, looked at important and overlapping virtues among Protestants, Catholics, and non-religious Dutch persons. In his study of imams, their virtues hardly differed from other Dutch people. Additional information and details about the research conducted by Mr. Leemhuis and van Oudenhoven can be found at the article below.