Jihadists, Salafism, Extreme-right identified as top Dutch terrorist threats
The National Counterterrorism Coordinator (NCTV) warned that radicalized groups of jihadists, Salafist Muslims and members of the extreme right pose the greatest threat to national security. There is currently no concrete evidence that an attack is being planned, the NCTV stated in their 54th terrorism threat assessment. The threat level remained at three out of five.
"The possibility that an extreme right-wing single-acting perpetrator in the Netherlands will commit an attack is conceivable," the report noted. The extreme right especially resonates with young, troubled Dutch people who often encounter extreme right propaganda online. "In addition, there are people who sometimes threaten (online) with serious violence from the right-wing extremist, but also from the anti-government angle."
Anti-government was also a theme repeated in the context of Covid-19, with an increase in protests over the past year. The coronavirus restrictions are considered a possible trigger for potentially violent loners, but so far little could be linked to extremist views or terrorist threats.
The jihadist movement poses the primary terrorist threat in the Netherlands, according to NCTV. The threat assessment also considers them to be ideologically and socially fragmented. They lack clear leadership and a strong structure and as such, their prevalence diminished slightly in 2020. Nonetheless, violent attacks are encouraged within the group thus, making them still a viable threat.
Salafist centers regularly hold informal lessons that can lead to the radicalization of pupils, NCTV said. This is particularly dangerous for children and other vulnerable groups, the counterterrorism organization pointed out. Salafists are only a small minority in the Dutch Muslim community. They offer, however, a wide range of courses which means their ideology disproportionately impacts the Muslim community, NCTV stated.
That said, given that there was a terrorist attack in Vienna last year which left five dead and 23 injured, and a stabbing in Nice, France, that killed three, the NCTV concluded it is feasible that a religious radical in the Netherlands will commit an attack.