Rotterdam shootings suspect expressed right-wing extremist views online
Fouad L., the 32-year-old medical student suspected in three fatal shootings that shook the city of Rotterdam on Thursday, expressed right-wing extremist views online. Posts from the Internet forum 4Chan indicate his belief in righwing extremist and conspiracy theories. He also claimed he was a member of the Dutch far-right party Forum voor Democratie (FvD).
L. was active on 4Chan under the pseudonym @motoranon. He expressed resentment towards his professors at Erasmus University and his neighbors. He alleged online that his neighbor, whom he shot on Thursday, filmed him abusing animals and consistently reported him to the authorities.
Furthermore, he claimed to have completed all his study credits but was denied graduation by the exam board. According to L., the board suspended him for six months at a time. He also consistently portrayed himself as intellectually superior.
According to RTL Nieuws, his posts were riddled with slurs against Jews and Black people. He also shared online the far-right conspiracy theory suggesting a deliberate replacement of white individuals with citizens of color. L.'s posts also revealed strong misogynistic views.
L. expressed affinity for the Dutch far-right political party Forum for Democracy, and even identified himself as a member in a post in 2021. He referred to it as “our party.” Due to privacy laws, FVD declined to verify his membership. The party condemned this “terrible incident” and said it has "absolutely nothing to do" with Fouad L., a spokesperson for the parliamentary group told ANP.
About a day after the tragedy, Justice and Security Minister Dilan Yeşilgöz-Zegerius refused to comment on a possible motive or the suspect’s background. “It is important that a proper investigation takes place so that we know exactly what happened,” she said to reporters after the regular weekly meeting of the Cabinet on Friday.
“I also don’t think it will benefit anyone if I start speculating within 24 hours,” she continued. All organizations that responded to the incident, or which previously monitored the suspect, will continue to work together as part of the current ongoing investigation.
The threat of online right-wing radicalization has been growing in the Netherlands. In May, the National Coordinator for Counterterrorism and Security (NCTV) said there was a growing risk of terrorist attacks, notably from right-wing extremism. Both the General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD) and the Military Intelligence and Security Service (MIVD) also highlighted the threats from right-wing radicalization.