Jihadists to lose passports in Cabinet deal

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Minister for Security and Justice Ivo Opstelten has called for the withdrawal of Dutch citizenship of anyone who joins an armed terrorist group. His proposal is one of several measures Prime Minister Mark Rutte's cabinet plans to undertake in an effort to tackle radicalization and Jihadism in the Netherlands. 

Minister Opstelten has called for measures which will allow the removal of Dutch citizenship from any person found to have joined a terrorist group, participated in a terrorist training camp, or is seeking to return from fighting for a terrorist organisation, even if that person does not have a prior criminal conviction. Dutch law already says anyone committing these acts against the Netherlands or an ally can lose their citizenship, but the new law would go beyond that provision. For practical reasons, the measure will only be applied to people with dual citizenship as withdrawal cannot lead to statelessness.

In an open letter to the House, Minister Opstelten said that Jihad is a substantial threat to national security, and the need exists for a plan that removes all breeding grounds for radicalization.

"The jihadist movement is all the opposite of what our democracy stands for," Opstelten said with Social Affairs Minister Lodewijk Asscher.

A parliamentary statement on the "Jihadism Integrated Approach" program calls for tougher legislation that strengthens laws on jihadism and radicalization.  “The government wants to prevent people from traveling abroad to conflict areas to join violent jihadist groups, such as ISIS, AQ and Jabhat al Nusra in Syria”, the statement reads.

“When there is reasonable suspicion that someone wants to [fight in] a conflict zone or join a terrorist movement, passports will be revoked.”

The Cabinet has also called for an end to the spread of online radicalization, hate, and violent jihadist information, and the identification of those who distribute it. A specialist team from the National Police will focus on investigating allegations of the distribution of such data.

Identifying social tension as a breeding ground for radicalization, the Cabinet also wants the presence of experts in neighborhoods identified as being likely locations for jihadists to be recruited. Experts in the child development and education as well as informants would be sent to these areas to identify vulnerable youths before they become targets.

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