It would be better for radicalized Dutch nationals fighting alongside ISIS to die in Syria rather than for them to return home and carry out attacks, believes the Dutch PM. His party agreed, suggesting that their death is preferable.
Mark Rutte , the Prime
Minister of the Netherlands and leader of the People’s Party for
Freedom and Democracy (VVD) expressed his point of view during
pre-election debates on television.
“People who go there know what they are part of,” Rutte
said, when asked whether he agreed it would be preferable that
radicalized Dutch nationals die in Syria rather than return home.
“The only aim is to kill as many people as possible. Those
people will soon be back to carry out attacks here as well. As
prime minister, I am here to protect our people.”
The statement caused harsh criticism from representatives of all
other parties. The leader of social-liberal opposition party
Democrats 66, Alexander Pechtold said this position seemed
populist as it was very emotional.
“I think as prime minister you should put the rule of law
first, but you are saying “go and die in the desert rather than
face your responsibilities in court,” Pechtold said, adding
such a statement is “unworthy” of a PM.
But the members of the ruling party not just supported the idea
but went even further. The spokesperson for the VVD Laura Huisman
said on Friday it would be even better if jihadists were killed
by the Dutch government than allowed to come back, the Newsweek
“I must acknowledge Mr Pechtold’s ardent support for the
Netherlands’ participation in the combat against ISIL’s
barbarians,” she said as cited by the Newsweek. “The
logical consequence of which is that terrorists, some of them
undoubtedly Dutch, do get in the way of our lethal weapons.”
“That’s much to be preferred than their returning as
hardened, bloodthirsty, gun-toting terrorists, longing to kill as
many Dutchmen as possible. The Netherlands is a safer and better
place without them,” she added.
Despite the criticism the prime minister said most people would
agree with his position.
About 160 Dutchmen joined the Islamic militants over last two
years, a last year report by the National Coordinator for
Security and Counterterrorism department said. According to the
report, about 100 jihadists of Dutch origin still take part in
military operations in the Middle East at the moment.
In February the Dutch government approved a package of measures,
including an increase in funds of €128.8 million, to improve the
capabilities of the Dutch security services so that they could
combat terrorism and the jihadist threat in the long term. As the
jihadist threat is expected to be present for a long time, the
services are to focus on the growing number of people returning
from conflict zones and extra efforts to prevent and combat