Posted on August 29, 2007

Netherlands Sets Plan Against Extremism

Toby Sterling, AP, August 27, 2007

The Dutch government will spend $38 million over the next four years to prevent both the growth of Islamic fundamentalism and right-wing nationalism, an official said Monday.

The emphasis will be on funding existing programs at the neighborhood and school levels for what the government sees as a “growing problem” of the radicalization of Dutch youth, said Interior Affairs Minister Guusje ter Horst.

The number of racist incidents in the Netherlands spiked sharply after the November 2004 murder of filmmaker Theo van Gogh by a Muslim extremist, according to the Anne Frank Institute, which monitors hate crimes. A cycle of retaliatory attacks between native Dutch and Moroccan immigrants ensued.

But from 2005 to 2006, the number of reported racist attacks fell 10 percent to 265. There were 62 recorded attacks against Muslims and Islamic buildings—the most targeted group, the institute said.

Ter Horst said the goal was not to combat extremist groups—a job for law enforcement and intelligence agencies—but to prevent them from forming.


A teacher who notices students voicing racist or fundamentalist notions should be able to call a hotline for advice, for example, Ter Horst said.