Municipalities experience difficulties dealing with people returning from Syria and them preventing from going. Jozias van Aartsen, mayor in the city of the Hague writes that municipalities lack the knowledge to assess the risk a returnee poses. And they have no access to means to enforce measurements upon people who refuse their ‘support.’
Van Aartsen is pleading for a compulsory screening to check if someone poses a danger. If not so, then he is allowed to live in a municipality and can get support there.
Municipalities are pleading for a more central organization of the support for jihadis. Minister of Justice, Opstelten is considering dealing with the returnees in a prison where recidivists are treated now.
Leader of Christian Democratic Appel (CDA) Van Haersma Buma calls the returnees ‘ticking time-bombs.’ According to him it’s worrying that there is this image of the country having the issue under control, when mayors at the same time have no idea what to do.
Parties like Democrats 66 (D66), People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) and Party of the Labor (PvdA) also plead for support from the state for municipalities. However according PvdA municipalities should be able to provide shelter to the returnees themselves, to make reintegration easier.
Dutch newspaper Trouw has fired one of its employees for using non-existing sources when writing articles. The name of this journalist has yet to be confirmed, but other media write it’s Perdiep Ramesar.
One of his articles that caused a lot of commotion dates from May 18 2013: ‘If your neighbourhood changes into a caliphate.’ He wrote about a part of the Schilderswijk with a so-called enclave of orthodox Muslims, where smoking, alcohol and short skirts were said to be prohibited.
The article caused a lot of commotion and some politicians decided themselves to take a look in this neighbourhood. Geert Wilders, from the rightwing party Party for the Freedom (PVV) said he didn’t feel like he was in the Netherlands, while walking there.
There were however also some doubts about the article among Muslims themselves. The article played a great role in the (already) negative image of the neighbourhood, and also its stigmatization, as complained by Adri Duivesteijn, former councillor in the Schilderswijk.
Minister of Social Affairs and Safety Asscher also visited the neighbourhood and said he didnt’t recognize himself in what the article wrote.
Dutch parliamentary ministers have agreed on a package of measures to combat the growth of Muslim radicalization and stop youngsters from traveling abroad to take part in war. Ministers Lodewijk Asscher and Ivo Opstelten said in a briefing to Members of Parliament introducing the program, “the Jihadist movement is the opposite of everything our country stands for.”
Around 120 Dutch nationals are thought to be fighting with organizations such as IS and at least 30 have since returned home. Measures to be introduced include: a planned increase in options for withdrawing Dutch nationality from dual nationals; measures to deal with people returning to the Netherlands from conflict zones; a special team focusing on social media; and attention to youth vulnerable to radicalization through involvement of social workers, teachers and experts.
The Justice Minister confirms that the passport of 33 people have been cancelled so far. Most recently, officials have cancelled the passports of two couples from the city of Huizen and taken their children into care because of fears they planned to travel to Syria to join IS. The six children have been taken to a ‘place of safety’ but are not together, and their passports have also been cancelled.
In the Hague, a man and woman have been arrested for allegedly attempting to recruit people to fight in Syria and Iraq, and are suspected of “spreading hatred” via social media and news websites. In total, police in the Hague have now arrested nine people for recruiting fighters and five remain in jail.
20 May 2013
Claim by newspaper Trouw that part of The Hague’s Schilderswijk district is so dominated by orthodox Muslims that they are dictating what people should wear and how they should behave, have been denied by both police and local politicians.
Under the headline ‘Hague district is orthodox Muslim territory’, Trouw said ‘short skirts and dresses are not accepted on the street’. The paper said the area, with a population of some 5,000, is known by locals as ‘The Sharia Triangle’. ‘Very slowly, the rules in the area are beginning to change,’ the article said. ‘The norms of the majority are beginning to take over.’
But locals were quick to describe the article as exaggerated. ‘We know the area is dominated by Muslims, yes,’ said local Christian Democrat leader Gert-Jan Bakker. ‘But we have never noticed that they are in control.’ Local police chief Michel de Roos told broadcaster Omroep West claims by Trouw that the police allow locals to solve their own problems is not true. The police presence in the area has been strengthened and local beat officers have a strong local network, he said.
Social affairs minister Lodewijk Asscher and MP and anti-Islam campaigner Geert Wilders both paid visits to the district. Wilders spent 15 minutes walking through the area and did not speak to any locals, RTL news reported. ‘This is a part of the Netherlands where our norms and standards apply,’ Wilders told reporters during his stroll.
29 August 2012
According to the Pakistani weekly Friday Times, al-Qaeda has recruited two Somali students to carry out a suicide attack in the Hague. De Telegeraaf reported based on a Dutch intelligence source that the threat is “serious” , while a spokesperson for the Dutch embassy in Pakistan told the Friday Times that they were working closely with Pakistani counterparts to eliminate such threats.
21 June 2012
Negotiations over the place of a group of Iraqi asylum seekers in the Netherlands continue. Immigration Minister Gerd leers and his Iraqi counterpart Shafiq Duski met in the Hague this week and will again meet in Baghdad in September. The Netherlands offered a fund of 5.5million euros to Iraq to reintegrate failed asylum seekers, on the condition that Iraq cooperate in the repatriation process. Minister Duski will consult with Iraqi parliament on the issue, but prefers a phased return for the asylum seekers, as Iraq reportedly would have difficulty coping with the large numbers of repatriated individuals. The negotiations arose after asylum seekers from Iraq and elsewhere established a protest tent camp near Ter Apel.
30 January 2012
The Islam Democrat Party in the Hague has clarified that it does not want to ban dog ownership in the city. During a debate one week earlier fraction head Hasan Kucuk commented that he found it ‘pitiful’ that dogs are sometimes shut in an apartment for 23 hours a day, leading to speculation that the party wanted to introduce a ban on dog ownership.
August 4 2011
A dentist in the Hague is opening his clinic at night during the month of Ramadan to serve patients unable to attend his practice during the day. Fasting , including refraining from swallowing saliva, during daylight hours prevents some Muslims from attending the dentist. After speaking with a local Imam Peter Thiel decided to open is clinic after sunset, and he accepts emergency cases all night.
January 26 2011
An Egyptian man aged 52 attempted to set himself on fire outside of the Egyptian embassy in the Hague. When police approached, he covered himself with liquid; he was overpowered while attempting to start a lighter. According to a statement from Dutch police; however several people have tried to set themselves alight in Egypt in recent days following events in Tunisia.
December 14 2010
Radio Netherlands Worldwide reports that Dutch Muslim women face increasing difficulties in finding husbands. In the article, Naoual Loiazizi of the Netherlands Association of Muslim Women notes that “many girls have a hard time finding a man who shares their outlook on life”. Nermin Altintas of the Yasmin foundation in the Hague suggests that one factor contributing to the difficulty is the decrease in tendency for parents to help a woman identify potential husbands, so that “men and women are increasingly left to their own devices to find potential partners”.