Forty Dutch jihadists at large in Netherlands, Syria

Forty suspected jihadists are roaming about the Netherlands under the supervision of the probation service, or managed to sneak off to Syria.

This is according to Sjef van Gennip, director of Probation Netherlands, in an interview with NRC on Wednesday.

These suspected jihadists are people suspected of wanting to join a terrorist organization in the Syrian Civil war, being recruiters or financing jihadists, who are allowed to await their trial in freedom.

According to Van Gennip, this is a very isolated group. They often don't have contact with anyone except their probation officers.

He also stated that they often feel that the Netherlands is treating them unfairly, something that he can understand. "I can imagine that there is discontent, given the growing intolerance in society. If you were being hunted - with everyone watching you, and no opportunities - would you then find it strange that people want to want to turn their back on society?"

Van Gennip would not comment on how many suspected jihadists managed to leave the Netherlands, despite supervision. But he did point out to NU that the Probation service consists of monitoring and guidance, not 24 hour surveillance.

The Probation director also pointed out that probation and rehabilitation for this group is not about getting them away from radical Islam. "What faith you adhere to is your freedom and your choice. But if that leads to criminal behavior, the limit is reached."


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