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Radical Political Parties and Groups

Radical Political Parties and Groups Leader of the Freedom Party Gert Wilders.

The main ultra-right party in the Netherlands is the Freedom Party, created in 2006 by politician Gert Wilders. “The Freedom Party” is building its propaganda around the danger posed by “aliens” (immigrants, refugees), which threaten the homogeneity of the Netherlands. To attract and retain voters, this threat must be updated again and again. The Freedom Party demands closing borders, getting rid of political correctness, introducing administrative detention, stopping immigration from Muslim countries.

At the same time, Wilders increasingly tries to position himself as pro-Jewish and pro-women, focusing instead on Islamophobia and migrantophobia. Therefore, along with traditional slogans about “the lowest Islamic culture”, “Muslim invasion”, “tsunami of Islamic testosterone”, etc., he increasingly appeals to the female, Jewish and homosexual audience, representing himself as a defender of European liberal values. The party enjoys considerable popularity - it has the third largest faction in the Dutch parliament, and is also represented in the European Parliament (where it is a member of the European Alliance for Freedom).

The second largest and most influential radical party is the Forum for Democracy (Dutch: Forum voor Democratie, FvD), a national-conservative, eurosceptic political party in the Netherlands, founded as a think tank by Thierry Baudet who has been the party's leader since 22 September 2016. The party first participated in elections in the 2017 general election, winning two seats in the House of Representatives.

On the international scene, Wilders is a clear Eurosceptic. During his campaign for the EU elections, he cut out a symbolic star from the Dutch EU flag to demonstrate his desire to pull the Netherlands out of the EU. “We do not want Brussels, we do not want the EU,” he said, “and I'll take this star back to the Netherlands and give it to the Dutch people, to show that we do not need this European flag and that we are proud of our own Dutch flag.” Union of the Dutch People advocates for the rehabilitation of Nazi collaborators. However, its support is minimal.

The neo-Nazi groups, such as Autonoom Nationaal Socialistische Actie and Verenigd Nederlands Arisch Broederschap are affiliated to the international neo-Nazi network Blood and Honour and have a history of violent attacks on immigrants and ethnic minorities.

An analysis of right-wing parties in the Netherlands in 2019-21 shows that right-wing groups consist of individuals and groups who (secretly) commit violent and nonviolent acts based on one of the following ideas: hatred of foreigners, hatred of foreign culture, and ultra-nationalism. Right-wing groups are diverse, fragmented and often overlap with other groups (such as farmer interest groups or soccer hooligans).

According to recent research, Dutch right-wing extremists have focused above all on capitalizing on current social trends, organizing anti-establishment and anti-vaxer demonstrations during pandemic, and promoting counter-reactions to anti-racist demonstrations (such as Black Lives Matter). On several occasions this has led to (threatened) violent actions in which the home addresses of anti-racist activists have been published and visited, or in which protesters against implicit racism such as holidays like Black Pete have been besieged by right-wing extremists, sometimes joined by groups of soccer hooligans.

In addition to these groups using undemocratic means to achieve undemocratic goals, it is worth mentioning the Dutch right-wing movement Erkenbrand, which tries to promote its undemocratic political agenda without explicitly violating any laws. However, the security problems associated with right-wing extremism primarily concern the so-called "lone wolves," who are radicalized online and whose terrorist intentions may go unnoticed by law enforcement agencies. Public unrest and pandemic anxiety can amplify the perceived threat to personal and group interests and accelerate the process of violent radicalization. In the wake of the pandemic, the Internet has been a major source of concern.

Since 2018, in addition to right-wing extremism, Islamist extremism has also become of some concern in the Netherlands. This extremism is inspired by jihadism, an extremist ideology with a glorification of violent jihad (holy war). The Dutch jihadist movement is relatively hidden from public life. This is due to organizational and ideological differences, as well as a lack of hierarchy and leadership in society.

In addition to jihadism, there are other forms of extremism where supporters use their religious beliefs to justify their activities to maintain democracy. This includes Salafism, which means a literal return to the "pure Islam" of the religion's early days. Salafist imams usually belong to the younger generation of preachers, often born in the Netherlands, who received an extracurricular education from the older generation of radical Salafists. Some of them then traveled to the Gulf region to study the religion.

Salafis are engaged in educational and political activities. In some schools, Salafi teachers provide extracurricular education (in Islam and Arabic) to children. One school, the Lyceum Cornelius Haga in Amsterdam, was excluded from public funding in 2019 after rumors that a board member was accused of showing support for ISIS on social media. Political Salafists are active in Stichting Muslim Rights Watch Nederland (MRWN), which acts as a "watchdog for the Islamic community." This organization has publicly supported the dismissed headmaster of the Cornelius Haga Lyceum (CHL) secondary school in Amsterdam, as well as a number of others like him, such as the "Imam of Hate" of the As-Sonne Mosque in The Hague.The organization has also been active in supporting the sacked school.

Security concerns primarily relate to foreign fighters, namely Dutch nationals who traveled to a jihadist conflict zone with jihadist intentions, who were found to have entered the conflict zone, participated in hostilities or other crimes, and who are now returning to the Netherlands. This also includes jihadists who entered the conflict zone from elsewhere and then arrived from the conflict zone in the Netherlands.

In 2019, about five people of Dutch origin returned from the conflict zone in Syria and Iraq to the Netherlands or another Western European country. However, as of early 2020, about 120 jihadists of Dutch origin were still in Syria and Iraq. This number does not include minors of Dutch origin in the area. For each returnee, the authorities assess the threat they pose. Returnees have a higher threat profile than jihadists who have not traveled to the conflict area. Mostly male returnees, as they often had combat and explosives training, combat experience and a network of international jihadist contacts.

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