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Jihadi Terrorism in the Netherlands: A Description Based on Closed Criminal Investigations

NCJ Number
C.J. de Poot; A. Sonnenschein
Date Published
176 pages
In order to determine how jihadi terrorism manifested itself in the Netherlands between 2001 and 2005, this study analyzed 12 criminal investigations into jihadi activities during this period.
The analysis of these investigations focused on the features of jihadi groups ("cooperations"), the activities of these cooperations, and the jihadi actors. The study found that jihadi cooperations are instigated and led by individuals inspired by a Salafist-jihad body of thought that advocates the perpetration of violence against non-Islamic societies and cultures, with the ultimate aim of destabilizing and supplanting them with societies/cultures that adhere to fundamentalist Islamic law. The composition of jihad cooperations was mixed, partly because persons with previous criminal convictions, converts, and sympathizers become involved in these groups. Such heterogeneity contributes to the social and cultural features of these groups. Although diverse in many ways, nearly all group members base their religious convictions on the Sunni movement within Islam. The majority of the members are motivated by a desire to retaliate against what they perceive as worldwide injustice against Muslims, rebellion against existing social systems, or rigid guidelines for a pure Islamist culture. The criminal investigations analyzed show that jihadi actors in the Netherlands during the study period were involved in a variety of activities that included converting individuals to the jihadist ideology, molding existing followers, and teaching and training individuals in the ideology and tactics of jihadi terrorism. Although clear terrorist profiles were not evident in the investigations, groups tended to include illegal immigrants, former or current drug addicts, persons with criminal histories, and persons seeking meaning or a cause for their lives. Also represented in jihad cooperations were idealists and political activists dissatisfied with current Dutch society. 125 references