According to local media, a Dutch military unit operating in Afghanistan is helping Amsterdam police to spy on Muslim residents living in the city.
The military spies on population groups - especially the Turkish and Moroccan communities - according to their behaviour, alleged vulnerabilities and apparent sensitivity to manipulation and indoctrination.
Local media also said that the surveillance is targeting people going to “mosque between 25 to 40 years old” and the behaviour of “immigrant parents of young children.”
The tactic has been borrowed from the US military’s Psychological Operations (PsyOps) doctrine which was in place from 2012 to 2014 in Afghanistan, with the aim of turning locals in “enemy territory” into collaborators.
According to the daily Trouw newspaper, the head investigator said “The police is not only there to catch thieves, but also for prevention. That can only happen together with citizens,” Telesurtv.net reported.
The project, however, has been criticised as racial profiling.
Amsterdam mayor Van der Laan has announced his support for military operations by the Dutch Ministry of Justice and Security, saying it was in “public interest.”
Labour Party leaders have said in the past that Dutch Moroccans own an “ethnic monopoly” over public disorder and that they require both “physical and verbal smacks by police, family and neighbours.”
A former police chief of the Dutch city of Gouda, Paul Musscher, referring to cultural differences said that the city’s Moroccan and Turkish residents “come from the Rif. They are Berbers, which comes from the word barbarian, and their wild and rough characters are culturally embedded, which enables them to live on the streets more easily. You could say their behaviour is genetically determined (…). One can tell that they have different cultural habits than us.”
Research by an academic expert in Islamophobia from the University of Amsterdam, Ineke van der Valk, revealed several negative figures related to anti-Muslim discrimination in the Netherlands. 39 percent of the 475 mosques in the Netherlands have experienced discriminatory aggression such as arson attacks.
Sixty-eight percent of the mosques which responded to a survey stated they have experience with attacks, mainly the smashing of windows. This has caused both material and psychological damage to these Muslim communities. Eighty five percent of the mosques notified the police, but 51 percent didn’t feel they were helped or taken seriously.