Friday, May 29, 2015 - 12:20
Amsterdam unveils extensive plan to prevent radicalization
Amsterdam is further tightening its approach to radicalization in the city. In the coming years the city will pay even more attention to making connections between Amsterdam residents, protecting vulnerable groups and individuals and addressing those in the city that pose the greatest risks, the municipality announced in a press release today. This new plan is called Action Plan Dialogue. The plan aims to make dialogue initiatives possible in the capital with support schemes. It also includes a leadership program and a possible conference following the dialogue talks that were held between Jewish and Muslim Amsterdam residents last year. According to the city, recent years have shown that all sorts of influences and tensions from the outside world can lead to tension between different groups in the city. The mayor and aldermen believe that the only way to prevent these tensions from affecting life in Amsterdam is to strengthen the joint Amsterdam identity and enforcing the city's core values of freedom and tolerance. For this it is essential that groups that are in conflict enter into a dialogue and negotiation. Through this the mayor and aldermen hope to channel the strong emotions and forge a connection. The aim is to make Amsterdam resilient against such tensions and unrest, but also against possible attacks. To do so, tackling casuistry remains crucial. The approach to casuistry consists of a reporting and advice hotline that people can call to report possible radicalization or to get advise on how to handle the issue. The municipality is working closely with de-radicalization experts that can be deployed when there are signs that someone is becoming seriously radicalized. The approach also makes use of key figures - 150 mostly young people who have a wide network in their own community and are trained to recognize signs of radicalization. These key figures can fulfill the role of conversation partner for the friends and relatives of people who have become radicalized. They know their way around the city and can make connections. The city is also taking preventative measures to protect vulnerable institutions in the city. For this they are using, among other things, the subsidy scheme for endangered institution, which was adopted by the mayor and aldermen last week. This subsidy scheme can provide money to religious and social institutions in Amsterdam that feel threatened and vulnerable to attack. These institutions must use this money for extra security. An amount of 2 million euros has been earmarked for this. The government has also made 750 thousand euros available specifically for Jewish institutions.