Arnhem keeping an eye on 25 radicalized Muslims, mayor says

The authorities in Arnhem has been intensively monitoring a group of about 25 radicalized Muslims for some time, mayor Ahmed Marcouch said. The seven men arrested last week on suspicion of planning a major terrorist attack in the Netherlands, belonged to this group, De Gelderlander reports.

The group was monitored as part of a program launched in 2012. In this program the municipality, the police, youth workers and other agencies keep an eye on young people that may be radicalizing. At the start of this year, it became clear that the seven detainees were becoming increasingly radicalized and more and more isolated from society. 

One sign of this was that they turned away from the two Moroccan mosques in Arnhem, Marcouch said. As an example he mentioned a baby shower held by one of the suspects, Morad M. "If you wanted to go in, you first had to swear that you did not want anything more to do with the mosque in Arnhem Zuid. In that way they created a kind of brotherhood", Marcouch said. 

In April Arnhem called in the intelligence services because the concerns about these men became "bigger and more serious", the mayor said. "It is a relief that an attack was prevented. I see that as a success story. People think that we lost sight of the alleged leader Hardi N., but that is not the case. We followed him continuously and we saw that he was radicalizing. He's in his thirties, has a child of 6 and a pregnant wife. You would think: a basis for a more stable life. And yet it was his highest ideal to become a martyr."

Marcouch also said that he does not believe in deradicalization programs. "It is not the case that you can send those guys through a car was and they come out clean. I believe in our broad way of working: connecting a local approach with national security services."