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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
05THEHAGUE2651 2005-09-30 16:04 2011-01-26 18:06 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy The Hague
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 05 THE HAGUE 002651 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/30/2015 

B. THE HAGUE 2599 


1. (C) SUMMARY: The GONL is fully trying at the national and 
local levels to combat Islamic extremism on Dutch soil. The 
government's approach involves a two-pronged effort. First, 
the Dutch are promoting social integration in order to shrink 
the pool of potential recruits for extremist groups. Second, 
they are tackling extremists directly by reinforcing the 
government's ability to investigate and prosecute terrorism 
and to frustrate individuals and groups that promote violent 
radicalism. Most of these programs are new, so their 
long-term effectiveness is hard to judge; preliminary 
indications are mixed. Many official efforts to reach out to 
communities most susceptible to the extremist message have 
been received skeptically. Embassy The Hague and AMCONSULATE 
Amsterdam are actively cultivating ties with the Dutch Muslim 
community, and have recently established a Working Group on 
Integration Issues to coordinate outreach and reporting 
opportunities among all mission elements. END SUMMARY 



2. (C) Although the September 11 attacks in the U.S. and the 
Madrid bombings convinced the Dutch government to reexamine 
its counterterrorism policies (septel), the murder of Dutch 
filmmaker Theo van Gogh by a Dutch-born Islamic Extremist in 
November 2004 was an equally traumatic wake-up call. The van 
Gogh murder, and the subsequent arrest of members of the 
Hofstad Group, was viewed by many as proof that 
long-standing Dutch approaches were inadequate to counter 
extremism within the Netherlands growing and largely 
non-integrated Muslim community (ref b). Minister of 
Integration Rita Verdonk was given primary responsibility for 
combat radicalism nationally, along with a 40 million Euro 
budget for this purpose. On August 19, 2005 Verdonk unveiled 
a comprehensive program entitled Empowerment and Integration 
Policy, Prevention of Radicalization from the Perspective of 
Integration Policy. The plan includes 34 projects and 
initiatives for implementation over the next 3 years, and 
tasks individual ministries with carrying out specific parts 
of the plan. The programs are designed to counter radicalism 
from Muslim extremists as well as right-wing extremists and 
others espousing violent ideologies. 


3. (C) The first prong of the government's comprehensive 
approach is to reduce the appeal of radical ideologies, 
especially among youth, by promoting the concept of shared 
citizenship, strengthening social ties between native and 
non-native Dutch, and encouraging vulnerable youth to remain 
in school. To this end, the Education Inspection Board was 
tasked with establishing a national center to report 
incidents of discrimination and extremism in the education 
sector. The GONL has also begun partnering with 
government-funded think tanks to empower youth and imbue them 
with democratic norms, strengthen social ties between 
minorities and native Dutch, and empowering Muslim circles 
against the influence of radicalization. Specific areas in 
which the GONL has become or intends to become more active 
nationally include; 

-Mentoring and coaching for teachers and students. 
-Promotion of active citizenship 
-Support of civil initiatives in the areas of the labor 
market, economic entrepreneurship, education, youth, sports, 
and neighborhood safety. 
-Measures and initiatives to remove impediments for 
minorities on the labor market through creation of more 
training and work experience placements, countering prejudice 
and coaching higher-educated minority youth 

4. (C) The 34 specific projects listed projects fall into the 
following categories: 

-- Shared Citizenship within Democratic Rule of Law: These 
include education projects to promote awareness of a shared 
past, present and future between Muslim communities and 
native Dutch, as well as programs to highlight the social 
benefits of ethnic diversity. Promoting the celebration of 
Day of Freedom World War II remembrance day is also a 
priority. The program envisages a series of lectures and 
conferences on fundamentalism and radicalization, and 
promotes contracts and covenants between local authorities, 
schools, Islamic organizations and mosques on moral 
frameworks and code of conduct. 

-- Local Approaches to Enhance Empowerment and Social Ties: 
The GONL will sponsor a conference of the 30 largest towns 
and minority organizations this fall to coordinate 
activities. The GONL plans to develop and maintain a diverse 
group of contacts within communities for consultations, and 
to improve the expertise of government officials and other 
professionals (teachers, police, etc.) working within Muslim 

-- Involving Youth and Parents: The program establishes a 
summer school program for 20 at-risk college students to 
discuss issues such as free speech and rule of law. Personal 
coaching for leadership for high potential leaders within 
communities to act as role models will also be provided. 
Youth leaders will receive training in engaging in and 
leading debate and spokesmen for their communities, and in 
promoting intergenerational debate between Muslim youth and 
their elders. Refugee youth, who are particularly vulnerable 
to radicalization, have been targeted for engagement in 
debates on social ties and radicalization. 

-- Emancipation of Girls and Women: Active attempts to engage 
women in public and private debate on issues related to 
religion are envisaged. 

-- Involving the Muslim Community: The government is reaching 
out to the Muslim community to counter the impression that 
Muslim youth are not fully accepted members of Dutch society, 
and is seeking support from Muslim community leaders in 
explaining that that Dutch society offers opportunities to 
those who persevere, that Islam has a place in Dutch society, 
and that Muslims have much freedom to practice their religion 
here. Attempts to explain political Islam to the Muslim 
community youth are also underway, including government 
efforts to provide alternative perspective through popular 
Dutch-Moroccan websites. The GONL has also proposed funding 
programs to train imams in the Netherlands, thus reducing the 
need to import potentially radical imams from abroad and 
increasing the links between the religious leadership and 
Dutch society. Supplemental training for Koran teachers and 
to youth workers in the various ethnic communities will be 
provided, and the GONL will sponsor messages aimed at 
improving the profile of Islam in the Netherlands. 

-- Involving the native Dutch Population: The program 
proposes establishing an Integration Council consisting of 
both minority and majority representatives, instead of the 
exclusive minority representation currently in place. The 
government is also encouraging dialogue between Muslim 
communities and media outlets and opinion-makers. In the 
next few months, there will be a national bus tour entitled 
Netherlands New Land providing information and a platform 
for debate to each of the communities it visits. 


5. (C) In addition to adopting tougher counterterrorism and 
immigration measures (septels), the GONL is focusing on 
increasing awareness of the dangers of radical Islam, 
particularly among vulnerable populations, and on increasing 
the ability of individuals to counter the appeal of extremist 
groups. The GONL's plan notes that defending oneself against 
radicalization requires specific knowledge and skills, 
including knowing how to live with Islam in a secular and 
Western society and respect for the democratic legal order. 

6. (C) The GONL has announced the creation of neighborhood 
social network groups comprised of influential community 
members whom educators, police or parents can contact at the 
first signs of radicalization. This group will also have 
non-advertised contact with the Dutch government and security 
services, but will serve as a first line of defense within 
the community against radicalization. 

7. (C) The national government has also commissioned a 
study, to be completed by year's end, on the causes of 
radicalization and effective strategies for countering it. 
The National Counter Terrorism Board (NCTB) has also begun to 
monitor radical websites active in the Netherlands and is 
carrying out notice and take down procedures. 


8. (C) Since the populations considered most vulnerable to 
radicalization are concentrated in urban areas, many of the 
most active counter-extremism programs have developed at the 
local level. The quasi-governmental Netherlands Institute 
for Safety and Crisis Management (COT) has developed 
anti-radicalization programs for the cities of Amsterdam and 
Rotterdam, including guidance for local authorities on 
early-warning signs of radicalization. The programs are 
fairly comprehensive and include measures to combat 
discrimination, promote integration, and foster positive 
school environments on the neighborhood level. Another 
aspect of the program is the creation of a central 
information house or clearinghouse that collects 
information on groups within the Muslim community from 
various local government agencies (i.e. welfare, tax, 
passport, etc.) The information house has some tangential 
contact with law enforcement, but seeks to avoid overt ties 
because of political sensitivities. Project coordinators 
originally envisaged creating a database to manage 
information on a citywide basis, but legal restrictions 
including strict privacy laws have stymied progress. The 
information house will analyze information and look for 
trends and indicators that reveal radicalization among youths. 

9. (C) Another aspect of the plans is an early-warning 
radicalization indicator checklist. The list, which is being 
compiled by local law enforcement officials with support from 
the intelligence services, draws from input provided by 
social scientists, teachers, community leaders, and others 
living and working directly with vulnerable populations. 
Some indicators on the list include: relatively sudden change 
in appearance or activity; sudden interest in religion; 
increasingly homophobic or bigoted displays of 
discrimination; increasing isolation, disaffection or 
absences, following of a radical figure or participation in 
independent religious groups, decreasing respect for women 
and authorities, perception of Western society as the enemy, 
and decreasing involvement in crime. The list is not 
intended to be a comprehensive checklist, but rather a tool 
for local law enforcement officials and others to help 
identify potentially extremist individuals and groups early 
in the radicalization process. 

10. (C) In addition to these new plans, municipalities with 
sizable at-risk populations already have the City of 
Amsterdam has $61 million euros for integration and 
anti-radicalization efforts, some of which comes from EU 
funds and the rest from city revenues. One program 
implemented by the city is And Now Something Positive, 
which provides a trip to Morocco for 20 Dutch-Moroccan 
at-risk youth for three weeks to complete service programs. 
Many of these programs are long-standing; for example, 
Mohammed Bouyeri, the convicted murderer of filmmaker Theo 
van Gogh, grew up in an Amsterdam neighborhood that has 
numerous community-based initiatives. One of them is an 
award winning crime prevention scheme entitled Neighborhood 
Fathers. The group, a neighborhood watch program to inform 
authorities of illegal and extremist activity, was 
established in 1999 after riots erupted between Moroccan 
youth and local police. 


11. (C) The government has engaged NGOs and 
quasi-governmental organizations in developing and 
implementing some of the anti-radicalization strategies. In 
September, three Dutch mosques in Amsterdam drafted a code of 
conduct in cooperation with local authorities to help fight 
radicalism, promote democratic values and encourage imams to 
speak Dutch in return for stronger action on discrimination 
against Muslims. Also, a private Dutch foundation that 
provides consulting advice to small businesses has recently 
implemented a project to provide such marketing, financial, 
and legal services to immigrant entrepreneurs in ethnic 


12. (C) The comprehensive national anti-radicalization plan 
is still in the early stages of being implemented, so its 
real impact cannot be judged at this time. There is no 
question that relations between Muslim and non-Muslim 
populations in the Netherlands is a politically volatile 
issue, and there is broad agreement that engaging the Muslim 
community to reduce radicalization should be a high priority 
of the government at all levels. On the other hand, Minister 
Verdonk -- who is personally identified with controversial 
proposals to reduce Muslim immigration and to remove 
radical imams from the Netherlands -- is extremely 
unpopular among the Dutch Muslim population. The fact that 
her ministry is developing and championing the latest 
government outreach programs is, therefore, cause for 
skepticism. Although Verdonk's ministry has sought the input 
of Muslim organizations in developing its ideas, a contact in 
her recently confided that overcoming the doubts of the 
Muslim community regarding the government's intentions will 
be a major challenge. 

13. (C) The government recognizes that existing integration 
and community policing efforts at the local level have more 
credibility and better chances of success than a new national 
initiatives. For this reason, many of the proposals in 
Verdonk's plan are intended to reinforce and strengthen local 
efforts. For example, the plan envisions establishing a 
national center acting as extremist hotline/call center to 
provide support to local community officials. A community 
policeman from Amsterdam recently told post that having 
access to such a center might have helped local police deal 
with Mohammed Bouyeri (Theo van Gogh's murderer) before he 
turned to violence. The policeman, who knew Bouyeri 
personally from this former involvement in community 
activities, had been arrested one month prior to the murder 
for riding a metro train without a ticket. The policeman 
observed that Bouyeri had drastically changed his appearance 
-- growing longer hair and a full beard -- and refused to 
shake hands with his former, non-Muslim, friends. The 
community policeman notified the police intelligence unit 
about his concerns, but there was no mechanism in place to 
effectively deal with Bouyeri's dramatic evolution and danger 



14. (C) Embassy The Hague and the Amsterdam Consulate are 
actively broadening their existing networks of Muslim 
contacts, NGO's, and other organizations dealing with Muslim 
youth. In this regard, the International Visitor Leadership 
Program (IVLP) has been especially effective tool. Upon 
their return from the U.S., Muslim participants in this 
program have helped broaden the Mission's circle of contacts 
by helping to set up joint events and other outreach 
activities. Each year since 2001, an increasing portion of 
the Mission's IVLP slate has been filled by Dutch Muslims, a 
trend the mission fully intends to continue (see below). The 
Mission Program Plan (MPP) will be modified this year to 
reflect the higher priority given to expanding Mission 
contacts with and understanding of the Dutch Muslim 



15. (C) To better coordinate its outreach and reporting 
activities related to countering extremism, the Mission 
established an Integration Issues Working Group in August, 
2005 to bring together all relevant Embassy elements. The 
group is chaired by the Political Counselor and includes 
representatives from ECON, PA, GLO, RSO, FCS, LEGATT, 
AMCONSULATE Amsterdam, and other Mission elements. The 
Charge D'Affaires actively follows and participates in the 
activities of the Working Group, which meets every two weeks, 
to review Mission activities in this area and to develop 
future plans. Among the projects initiated specifically by 
the Group to improve the sharing of information are: 

-- A mission-wide data base of contacts in the Dutch Muslim 
community and others involved in 
integration/counter-radicalization efforts; 
-- A calendar of upcoming Muslim- or extremism-related events; 
-- An archive of public and mission-produced documents 
related to counter-extremism in the Netherlands. 
-- Detailed reporting and outreach plans for each section. 

16. (C) Since August the Working Group has developed a 
comprehensive engagement plan for Ramadan 2005, identified 
four new Muslim IV candidates, and conducted a series of 
round table discussions on integration and extremism with 
local contacts chaired by the Charge d'Affaires. The Country 
Team has adopted a policy of inviting at least one 
Dutch-Muslim contact to all Embassy receptions and events. 
During the upcoming Ramadan season, the Charge will host (for 
the first time) an Iftar dinner at his residence, and will 
also invite Ambassadors and Consuls from predominantly Muslim 
countries to a separate event. Embassy participants will 
attend Iftar dinners with Dutch Muslim families in 
conjunction with the country's first nationwide Ramadan 


17. (C) During the current fiscal year, the Mission sent four 
Dutch Muslim IV grantees to the U.S. Two participated in a 
program on E-Commerce and the U.S. Economy and two in 
Managing Diversity in a Multi-Ethnic Society. Furthermore, 
the Embassy hosted 'Citizen Diplomat' Nassar Beydoun, Member 
of the Board of the American Arab Chamber of Commerce and 
President, Project Control Systems Inc. His program included 
meetings with the Dutch government, City of The Hague and 
City of Amsterdam officials, young ethnic entrepreneurs, 
Muslim students, and a dinner with former Muslim IVLP alumni. 
Last year the Ambassador, the PAO and PD staff attended two 
Iftar dinners in Amsterdam. 

18. (C) In November, Dr. Gary Weaver, an International 
Affairs professor and immigration and multi-cultural expert 
at American University, will serve as a U.S. speaker on the 
topic, Immigrants, Identity and Integration in 
Multi-Cultural Democracies. The target audience are Muslim 
groups and Dutch officials who are engaged in integration 
initiatives. Public Affairs promoted Dutch involvement in 
the State Department's 9/28 web chat with Dr. Weaver on this 
topic. The Public Affairs section has also helped line up 
American speakers for the national Ramadan festival, such as 
Dr. Kamran Ali, a visiting American Fulbright Scholar at 
Leiden University, Dr. Jessica Stern of Harvard University, 
and Dr. Shabbir Mansuri, the Founding Director of the Council 
on Islamic Education (based in San Francisco). The section 
is also attempting to place op-ed pieces in community 
newspapers in predominantly Muslim neighborhoods. 

19. (C) In consultation with Public Affairs section the 
Fulbright commission has greatly stepped up its outreach to 
Dutch Muslims. The commission hired a part-time Dutch 
Turkish immigrant who has helped the commission to increase 
the number of Dutch immigrant applicants for Fulbright study 
grants. For example, 27 Dutch immigrant applicants submitted 
applications before the 9/16/05 Early Application deadline 
out of 181 applicants. 

20. (C) The Public Affairs section is also actively engaging 
media outlets to promote the counter-extremism agenda. For 
example, the Embassy sponsored a U.S. reporting tour for 
journalists from four Dutch cities with large Muslim 
populations focused on the immigration, integration, and 
assimilation experience in the U.S. The Section is also 
working to place op-ed style pieces in community newspapers 
in predominantly Muslim neighborhoods. 


21. (C) In coordination with the Working Group and Public 
Affairs, other Mission elements have actively stepped up 
their outreach to the Muslim community and other activities 
to reflect Mission priorities. These include: 

-- Consulate General: Consulate staff have stepped up their 
already active outreach to Dutch Muslim community leaders in 
Amsterdam, including by visiting mosques and participating in 
mosque-sponsored events. The Consul General regularly 
attends meetings with local Muslim groups, has attended Iftar 
events. In September, 2005 she represented the USG at the 
opening of a new Islamic University in Rotterdam.. 

-- Political Section: POL requested and received in August a 
Presidential Management Fellow (PMF) to focus exclusively on 
issues related to Dutch Muslim integration, radicalization, 
and extremism. Her efforts have already substantially 
enhanced the Section's contact base and reporting 
opportunities. The Political Section is also engaging with 
Dutch government and think-tank contacts on the possibility 
of organizing an Islamic Extremism conference in the 
Netherlands sometime in the coming year. 

-- Global Issues: The Global Issues section has engaged the 
Ministries responsible for anti-radicalization programs, 
including the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Justice, and 
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and has extensively 
researched local governments' anti-radicalization programs. 
The section is also preparing an IV visit for a policy 
officer at the National Counter Terrorism Board who works on 
anti-radicalization issues. 

-- Foreign Commercial Service: FCS has intensified its 
engagement with minority business owners and community 
leaders. It is participating in the Black Woman Business 
Owners' Association, which includes Muslim women business 
leaders. FCS is also actively recruiting Dutch-Muslim 
students for its intern program. 

-- Economic Section: ECON will cooperate with FCS in 
outreach activity, and is drafting a report detailing the 
socioeconomic realities of Muslims in the Netherlands.