Dutch Islamo-Nazism, Where Did It Come From?

The Dutch have now admitted that there are thousands of violent Jihadi sympathizers in the country of windmills and dikes. It didn't happen overnight.

Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld

OpEds Manfred Gerstenfeld
Manfred Gerstenfeld
Manfred Gerstenfeld

At the beginning of September it became clear, rather suddenly, that Islamo-Nazism in the Netherlands has become substantial and is already a semi-organized movement. Rob Bertholee, head of AIVD – the Dutch general intelligence service – said in an interview that the jihadi movement has hundreds of adherents, while the number of sympathizers in the Netherlands of violent jihad is in the thousands.[1]

In July 2014, dozens of Islamic State supporters held a demonstration in The Hague. On following occasions IS and Hamas flags were displayed at anti-Israeli demonstrations. Until then, the official story had been that there were 130 jihadis who had left the Netherlands, 30 had returned from the Middle East and about 15 had been killed.[2] 

Islamo-Nazism has ugly, lengthy and strange roots in the Netherlands. In the previous century, long before Islamo-Nazis were a problem, some of their slogans were already popular phrases to be sung or shouted out in Dutch soccer stadiums.[3] The authorities did not react against catchphrases such as “Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the gas”, and “Death to the Jews”. They in fact considered the stadium to be an extraterritorial location where Dutch law did not fully apply.

One bizarre aspect of these slogans was that their intended targets were not Jews, but rather fanatic fans of the Amsterdam soccer club, Ajax. For obscure reasons, they were calling themselves Jews. Radical supporters of other soccer clubs, such as Feyenoord from Rotterdam, shouted their hate-slogans when their club would play against Ajax. Since the authorities did not react, these anti-Semitic slogans began to make their way out of the soccer stadiums.

In 1999, when Feyenoord became the soccer champions of the Netherlands, one of its players, Ulrich van Gobbel, shouted eight times into the microphone, before a huge public crowd on one of Rotterdam’s main avenues: “Whoever doesn’t jump is a Jew.”[4]

Soccer fans also sung the hate slogans in public transport.[5] Subsequently, the anti-Semitic catchphrases were used against recognizable Jews. Chief Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs recalls that he once entered a train together with a colleague, a non-Jewish psychologist. The train was packed with many Feyenoord supporters, who began to shout: “Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the gas.”[6] This type of anti-Semitism diminished after a soccer game in 2004 in The Hague was stopped when supporters sang, “Hamas, Hamas, the referee to the gas.”[7] Since then, the authorities have been acting from time to time against the hate slogans.

Some young Muslims became the precursors of current Islamo-Nazis. In 2001, in several Dutch schools, Muslim youngsters expressed their joy about September 11th. There were also displays of strong admiration for Osama bin Laden.[8]

In Amsterdam in 2003, on National Memorial Day, during the ceremony honoring the fallen of the Second World War, Moroccan and Turkish youngsters played football with the wreaths and shouted, “Death to the Jews".[9]

In April 2004, during a visit to Amsterdam, I was sitting in a tramway car when four olive-skinned youngsters of about 15 years of age came in from the back and sat several meters behind me. One of them started to sing, “You have to kill Jews, but it is forbidden.” It was not specifically directed against me, as I bore no outward signs of my faith and they could only see my back. That incident would be the beginning of my 2010 book, whose title translates as The Decay: Jews in a Rudderless Netherlands.[10]

The Amsterdam El Tawheed mosque sold a book titled The Way of Islam, which advocated throwing homosexuals from high buildings.
A radical change took place on 4 November 2004. On that day, a Moroccan, Mohamed Bouyeri murdered the Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh. In a letter he put with a knife on Van Gogh’s body he also threatened Ayaan Hirsi Ali, then a Dutch parliamentarian, with death. She has since left for the United States.[11] A few other Dutch Muslims that Bouyeri would meet with regularly were arrested on charges of attempted and premeditated murders. Some were convicted and went to jail.[12] There was now also some public attention given to the fact that two Dutch jihadis had been killed in Kashmir in 2002.

In the years following Van Gogh’s murder, the situation fragmented and became less transparent. The AIVD announced in 2006 that the recruitment of jihadis had gone mostly underground.[13]

There were frequent death threats against the well guarded anti-Islam politician, Geert Wilders, and from time to time others were also targeted.

One who got dozens of death threats was Ehsan Jami, who had set up an organization for former Muslims. He was also physically attacked.[14]

It became public knowledge that the Amsterdam El Tawheed mosque sold a book titled The Way of Islam, which advocated throwing homosexuals from high buildings.[15]

The monitors of Muslim websites tried to systematically filter out hate speech and calls for violence, but they did not always succeed. [16]

Occasionally foreign hate imams visited The Netherlands.[17] Recently, Deputy Prime Minister Lodewijk Asscher admitted that the Ministry of the Interior had been neglecting for years the option of prohibiting their entry into the Netherlands.[18]

In 2006 the Muslim rapper Appa made a video clip in which masked youngsters waved Hamas flags. It was downloaded more than a million times.[19] In September 2007 a Palestinian congress took place in Rotterdam, where the Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh was invited. The Dutch government, however, prohibited his entry. Thereupon Haniyeh addressed the congress by video. The former Dutch Prime Minister Dries van Agt, a Christian Democrat spoke as well. This leading Dutch anti-Israel inciter said at the congress that Hamas should be removed from the list of terror organizations.[20]

In 2009, anti-Israeli demonstrators in Amsterdam shouted, “Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the gas.” Two parliamentarians of the left-wing Socialist Party who participated in the demonstration claimed that they had not heard these slogans. They admitted that they had shouted: “Intifada, Intifada, Palestine must be free.”[21]    

With the civil war in Syria, Islamo-Nazism came to maturity in the Netherlands. Yet it remained largely underground, because the jihadis who left for Syria did not want to attract any attention from the authorities who might have prevented their departure.

This summer, however, jihadism reached the Dutch public domain. Now the AIVD has finally admitted what this intelligence service must have known for a long time - that the number of jihadi sympathizers in the Netherlands numbers in the thousands.


[1] Harry Lensink and Jaco Alberts, ”AIVD-baas Rob Bertholee over ‘het fenomeen”’, Vrij Nederland, 3 September 2014. [Dutch]

[2]  “Politie pakt paspoort 10 leden ‘jihadgezinnen’ af,” Volkskrant, 30 August 2014. [Dutch]

[3]  For an overview of Dutch Soocar anti-Semitism see Manfred Gerstenfeld, “Anti-Semitism and the Dutch Soccer Fields,” Journal for the Study of Anti-Semitism, Volume 3, issue 2, 2011, 629-646. 

[4] Simon Kuper, “Ajax, de joden, Nederland, Hard Gras 22 (Amsterdam, L.J. Veen, 2000) 141. [Dutch]

[5] Manfred Gerstenfeld, Het Verval, Joden in een Stuurloos Nederland, (Amsterdam: Van Praag, 2010), 23. [Dutch]

[6] Ibid, 25.

[7] Robert Misset, “Staking na wangedrag ADO-fans,” Volkskrant, 18 October 2004. [Dutch]

[8] Margalith Kleijwegt, and Max van Weezel, Het land van haat en nijd  (Amsterdam: Balans, 2006), 108. [Dutch]

[9] “Dodenherdenking in Amsterdam verstoord,” Trouw, 9 May 2003. [Dutch]

[10] Manfred Gerstenfeld, Het Verval.

[11] Jean Wanningen, “Er is vandaag een Amsterdammer vermoord,” Dagelijkse Standaard, 2 November 2013. [Dutch]

[12] “Lid Hofstadgroep Jason W. is vrij,” NOS.nl, 11 May 2013. [Dutch]

[13] “Ons ideaal is islamitische maatschappij; ook in Nederland.” Telegraaf, 24 January 2008. [Dutch]

[14] “Stroom telefonische doodsbedreigingen voor Jami,” Volkskrant, 9 August 2007. [Dutch]

[15] “Omstreden, nooit veroordeeld,” NRC Handelsblad,  9 November 2004. [Dutch]

[16] “Aantal linkse sites groeit nauwelijks, aantal moslimsites wel,” NRC.nl, 25 August 2007. [Dutch]

[17]  “Speech sjeik Khalid Yasin op YouTube,” Volkskrant, 25 January 2009. [Dutch]

[18]  “Harde aanpak haat-imams,” NOS.nl, 25 August 2014. [Dutch]

[19]  Robbert de Witt, “Wilders doet aangifte tegen Marokkaanse rapper,” Elsevier,    19 August 2007 [Dutch]