The Netherlands now has two Islamic middle schools, and one has ties to terrorism, reports the Investigative Project on Terrorism.
Terror expert Jelle van Buuren of Leiden University told IPT that when “we used to talk about jihad, we were always fixated on bombs and Kalashnikovs.”
“Now, we find ourselves looking more at intolerance, and the spread of ideologies. The problem is: if you arrest someone with a Kalashnikov, it’s basic. But what do you do with clubs that use democratic rights to undermine democratic values?”
Writing for IPT, Abigail Esman, author of “Radical State: How Jihad Is Winning Over Democracy in the West,” said it was Dutch intelligence and counterterrorism agencies that determined in March that one of the schools has a tie to violent jihad.
“Based on an anonymous tip from a moderate Muslim group, the agencies warned that the city’s Cornelius Haga Lyceum had ‘anti-democratic,’ Salafist leanings. Moreover, the agencies alleged, the school’s directors had connections with the Caucasus Emirate, a Chechen jihadist group with ties to the Islamic State.”
She reported the director of the Dutch anti-terror agency NCTV, Jaap Aalsberg, concluded: “Certain administrators would like to devote half the curriculum to Salafistic doctrine. They also plan to bring the children into their spheres of influence outside of regular school hours.”
She explained the NCTV warned that “political salafists in particular are increasingly teaching an anti-democratic interpretation of Salafist doctrines with the aim of strengthening the ‘Islamic identity’ of Muslim youth and making their form of Shariah law the guideline for the daily lives of Muslims in the Netherlands.”
However, she explained, “current laws make it impossible for the government to remedy the issue without potentially making matters worse. Closing the school down would likely anger the Muslim community and create difficulties for Muslim parents seeking to educate their children in keeping with their beliefs. Meantime, while they grapple with the situation, tensions between Muslims and the government, and between moderate and extremist Muslim communities, are intensifying.”
The school’s leanings first were revealed in an anonymous submission through social media that claimed moderate Muslims were concerned about the extremism at the school.
One infiltrator at the school posted on social media, “May Allah guide or destroy the enemies of Islam.”
Eslam said school officials “made impossible” an inspection.
When the city’s mayor halted public funding and asked its leader to step down, he refused, and imams placed videos online in support of the school.
Students there wrote to King Willem-Alexander asking if he wanted “Muslims to be filthied with mud for no cause.”
The “dilemma,” Esman said, “if the government continues to allow the school to operate and provides funding, it helps feed the Salafist and jihadist narrative. But if it stops, schools like this will likely turn elsewhere for support as mosques throughout Europe have in the past – to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, for instance – who then install their own extremist directors, imams, and curricula instead.”