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Viewing cable 05THEHAGUE2948, NETHERLANDS/EXTREMISM: ONE YEAR AFTER VAN GOGH,

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
05THEHAGUE2948 2005-10-28 17:05 2011-01-26 18:06 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy The Hague
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 THE HAGUE 002948 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
 
STATE FOR EUR/UBI, S/CT, INL 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PTER PINR PINS PGOV PREL NL KPRP
SUBJECT: NETHERLANDS/EXTREMISM:  ONE YEAR AFTER VAN GOGH, 
NO UNIFIED APPROACH 
 
REF: ...




REF: A. THE HAGUE 2898 
B. THE HAGUE 2705 AND PREVIOUS 

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Nearly one year after the murder of 
controversial Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh by Islamic 
extremist Mohammed Bouyeri, the GONL is still struggling to 
craft a strategy to address rising radicalization of its 
large and disenfranchised Muslim population. An October 26 
conference in Amsterdam, organized by the National Counter 
Terrorism Office (NCTB) to survey efforts to combat terrorism 
and radicalization since Van Gogh's November 2, 2004 murder, 
made clear the GONL remains divided on how to tackle social, 
political, and law enforcement issues related to 
radicalization. The conference highlighted the difficulty of 
discussing the link between terrorism and Islamic extremism 
in a country simultaneously struggling to address broader 
issues of Muslim integration. END SUMMARY. 

2. (U) During a well-attended day-long Amsterdam conference 
on radicalization hosted by the National Counter Terrorism 
Office (NCTB), the Dutch Ministers of Justice, Interior, and 
Immigration and Integration presented strikingly divergent 
views on how to address the problem of radicalization among 
Dutch Muslims. Justice Minister Donner, for example, 
stressed the need for mutual understanding of beliefs to 
combat radicalization, a problem he described as emerging 
from our own ground and soil. Referring to the broader 
societal divides between Muslim and non-Muslim populations, 
he argued that all sides should learn to accept changes and 
differences, even fundamental ones, to reduce social 
tensions. Interior Minister Remkes, on the other hand, 
argued that government representatives must stand firm 
against fundamentalism, radicalization and violence. 
Articulating a hard-line approach, Remkes called for a clear 
delineation of non-debatable values, and urged local 
community actors, including schools, to work with the Dutch 
intelligence services to identify radicals. (NOTE: Earlier 
in the week, Dutch press reported widespread criticism of 
Remkes' proposal. END NOTE.) Minister of Immigration and 
Integration Verdonk, known for supporting tough immigration 
and integration policies, cited a serious lack of involvement 
and commitment to integration by certain groups as a 
contributing factor to radicalization, and called for wider 
participation of the Muslim community in the broader society. 

3. (U) Non-governmental panelists, drawn from academia and 
the Muslim community, similarly took different approaches to 
both root causes of, and potential solutions for 
radicalization. Professor Bassam Tibi of Cornell University 
cited the lack of a European Muslim identity as a fundamental 
problem leading to radicalization, and called for the 
creation of a European Islam compatible with core European 
values and principles. A Dutch researcher on Muslim youth 
and radicalization, Frank Buijs, similarly called for 
religious alternatives within Islam, noting that Muslim youth 
are finding few moderate Islamic voices when trawling the 
internet for answers to their existential and basic life 
questions. 

4. (U) Sadik Harchaoui, Director of a Dutch social 
organization catering to youth, painted a bleak portrait of a 
large Muslim population plagued by serious and concrete 
social and economic ills, including discrimination, poverty, 
and unemployment. He charged the GONL with failure to 
address problems within the Muslim community prior to Van 
Gogh's murder, and for now overemphasizing the potential for 
radicalization of the community. Harchaoui claimed the 
government was creating a virtual reality of 
radicalization, one that made radicalization synonymous with 
terrorism and therefore threatened to alienate the broader 
Muslim community. 

5. (SBU) COMMENT: The Amsterdam conference, intended to 
highlight the GONL's progress in combating Islamic 
radicalization in the year since Theo van Gogh's murder, 
instead exposed stark divisions within the government, and 
within Dutch society at large, on how to tackle this 
increasingly important issue. The conference also 
highlighted intense Dutch interest in learning from U.S. 
experiences with regard to integrating immigrant populations 
while maintaining a clear national identity. Emboffs in 
attendance fielded a large number of questions about U.S. 
policies and programs throughout the day, demonstrating both 
curiosity about the U.S. experience and a sometimes 
surprising lack of familiarity with U.S. history and society. 
Post will continue to look for opportunities -- such as a 
possible U.S. trip by Minister Verdonk (ref a) -- to reach 
out to Muslim and non-Muslim Dutch leaders seeking to counter 
radicalization and extremism in the Netherlands. END 
COMMENT. 
SCHOFER