Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Radical Islam Spreads

Radical Islamic ideology is spreading to thousands of young Muslims in the Netherlands according to the country's intelligence service:

The agency, known by its acronym AIVD, identified the potential threat in an overview of domestic fundamentalist Islamic movements compiled for the Home Affairs Ministry in the wake of the country's first terrorist attack.

The publication comes nearly two months after the murder of film director Theo van Gogh, who was shot and stabbed to death on a busy Amsterdam street. A letter pinned to his chest with a knife threatened politicians and other "infidel nonbelievers."

The 60-page report said a variety of sources of radical Islam pose a threat to the country, ranging from Salifist mosques openly preaching anti-Western, antidemocratic ideas to an underground political movement backing violent jihad, or Islamic holy war.

"Europe and the Netherlands have been confronted with extreme violence," the report said, referring to Van Gogh's murder Nov. 2 and the train bombings in Madrid, Spain, last March 11.

The spread of radical Web sites as an alternative to traditional outlets of Islamic teaching, such as mosques, makes it harder for authorities to isolate potential threats, the report said.

"Especially the youth have found their way to Web sites of radical Islamic spiritual leaders," it said. "These Web sites increasingly contribute to the radicalization of Muslim communities in the Netherlands."

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