Justice Min.: Asylum seeker’s frustration can lead to radicalization

Ard van der Steur (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/VVD/Matthijs Idema)Ard van der Steur (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/VVD/Matthijs Idema)

Minister Ard van der Steur of Security and Justice is concerned that frustrations among asylum seekers could lead to radicalization. The terrorism-threat level for the Netherlands has not changed in the National Coordinator for Counterterrorism and Security's latest assessment. The possibility exists that individuals with ill intentions may try to enter the country among refugees, though no such case has been found yet.

"Frustrations can indeed increase the susceptibility to radicalization and recruitment", Van der Steur wrote in the letter he sent to the Tweede Kamer, lower house of parliament, along with the latest terror-threat assessment, the Volkskrant reports. According to him, there is a risk of asylum seekers being recruited by jihadists in the shelters. He hopes that the letter Justice State Secretary Klaas Dijkhoff recently distributed among asylum seekers will help prevent this. The letter explained the austere reception and that the asylum procedure may take a long time.

According to the newest terror-assessment, the threat level in the Netherlands remains stable at "substantial". There is a real chance of an attack in the Netherlands, though there are no current indications that one is imminent. This threat level applies to the entire West.

The National Coordinator for Counterterrorism and Security acknowledges that there is a chance that jihadists may enter the country through well known refugee travel routes and by abusing the asylum procedure, though he considers it unlikely. Despite some worrying signals, there are no confirmed cases of jihadists entering Europe among refugees. According to the Coordinator, terrorist groups find the risk of discovery too great to frequent these channels. Intelligence and security services are remaining alert for signals of terrorist organizations abusing asylum procedures.

Dutch jihadists returning from Syria is forming less of a threat than the Coordinator previously estimated. Most of the returnees seem to be disappointed by their experiences in Syria or Iraq and do not have any plans to launch an attack. So-called "exits" programs have been made available to help them reintegrate into society.

Approximately 220 Dutch people have left the Netherlands to join the jihad in Syria or Iraq up until October 1st. About 40 of them have returned to the Netherlands and 42 are believed to have been killed in the conflict. This leaves about 140 Dutch people currently in the conflict areas. According to the Coordinator, a growing number of Dutch jihadists are being promoted in the groups they joined in Syria and Iraq. A few Dutch have joined ISIS subgroups aimed at carrying out attacks in the West. Their presence and possible contact with others actively planning attacks have been taken into account in the threat assessment.