Muslim abuse, anti-Semitism and racism on the rise in Netherlands

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"Jews will die" was spray-painted on buildings in Voorburg along with a Nasara symbol and ISIS support slogans. Sept. 28, 2014. (Photo: Politie)"Jews will die" was spray-painted on buildings in Voorburg along with a Nasara symbol and ISIS support slogans. Sept. 28, 2014. (Photo: Politie)

People in the Netherlands reported 4,092 cases of racism, extremism and anti-Semitism to the police in all of 2014, an overall decrease of over four percent. Though total incidents dropped, abuse against Muslims in particular was up by over 50 percent, as part of an overall 26 percent rise in racial abuse cases to 2,764.

That represents an increase of nearly 600 individual cases, the Anne Frank Foundation revealed on Monday. The foundation worked with social science researchers at the Verwey-Jonker Institute on the study.

The study considers cases of discrimination against Muslim people as a subset of racism as a whole. There were 142 reported cases of Muslim prejudice in 2014, and a further 88 cases of violence against Muslim people. Though violence fell from 115 reports in 2013, discrimination against Muslims jumped from just 35 cases.

“The number of incidents of a right-wing extremist nature rose from 17 in 2013 to 42 in 2014. It appears that many of these incidents are related to the highly-polarized debate in the Netherlands about, for example, Zwarte Piet and Islam,” researchers said in a statement.

Some 76 occurrences of anti-Semitism were reported in the Netherlands last year, up from 61 in 2013. “Many of these incidents took place in the summer months during ‘Protective Edge,’ the Israelie military operation aimed against Hamas,” the researchers said.

The study found that cases involving anti-Semitic violence were often intentionally provoked by anti-Semitic intensions, but racial violence was more often an escalation stemming from an unrelated incident, like a car crash. Anti-Semitic violence is also more often tied to politics, specifically reactions to hostilities between Israel and the Palestinian Territories.

The drop in overall cases was connected to a general decrease in assault related to the study’s focus, the report stated. This fell from 2,218 in two years ago to 1,535 last year.

The report also praised the police department’s handling of discrimination issues. Police officers were criticized earlier this year for not handling a handful of specific cases with a sense of importance or urgency.

Issues related to discrimination are still prominent at police departments in the Netherlands. Earlier on Monday, outgoing national police superintendent Gerard Bouman vowed he would swiftly deal with any officers who do not do their jobs because of prejudice, specifically against asylum seekers.