For a long time any criticism of Muslim immigration in the Netherlands — especially when voiced by Geert Wilders and other members of the PVV — was considered unwise, because it would tend to radicalize impressionable young Muslims and push them farther away from integration into Dutch society. So the reasoning went, anyway.
However, a new report by the Dutch intelligence service indicates that the growth of Salafism — fundamentalist Islam — in the Netherlands has slowed. And what is the cited reason? Public discussion of and resistance to Islamization, as led by Geert Wilders and the PVV.
Our Flemish correspondent VH has translated an article on the topic from De Volkskrant:
Wilders deserves a little thanks
by Amanda Kluveld
The real reason for terrorists to see us as a legitimate target is that the Netherlands has not yet been conquered by Islam
In the recent AIVD report “Weerstand en tegenkracht” (Resistance and Counterforce) on current trends and developments one may read that the growth of Salafism in the Netherlands has stagnated. That is good to know, because according to the AIVD, Salafism is an important basis for Islamic terrorism and serves as an essential binder for the Islamist terrorist networks, organizations and individuals. There is no cause for joy though, because a stagnation of such growth does not mean that the in recent years the increasingly growing Salafists’ group in the Netherlands has become smaller.
But why the sudden stagnation of growth? The AIVD points at the public debate as one of the causes. This is a remarkable turnaround from previous reports by the service. In 2004, the Islam-critical contributions to the public debate were seen as a major cause of the fact that Muslims are turning away from Dutch society and are attracted to Salafism, radical jihad, and terrorism.
In a note on jihad recruits, the then Minister Johan Remkes (VVD, center-right) said: “Of interest is the fact that a growing number of Muslims feel unfairly treated by opinion makers and opinion leaders in society. Adding to this is that in their view the government does not — or fails in an attempt to — act as impartial arbiter. This idea reigns within a small group of politically radical Muslims but also within a large proportion of Muslims who themselves have do not feel obliged to — and bound to — the principles of constitutional democracy.”
That public debate caused youngsters to drift into the arms of jihadists. And now that same public debate is suddenly causing the Salafism in our country to stop growing, and making moderate Muslims increasingly speak out against radical dawa. How does this work, exactly?
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The AIVD does not say much about that, and just gives a few examples, including the controversy on dress codes between Ahmed Marcouch and Imam Fawaz Jneid of the as-Sunnah mosque. I still remember this debate. It was so weak that I can hardly imagine that it would have had such an impact on Muslim youth that they suddenly found Salafism to be less attractive. But I may be wrong. It would therefore be pleasurable if the AIVD would actually show the relationship between the halt in the growth of Salafism and the controversy.
Yet it is remarkable that the public debate according to the AIVD suddenly is no longer the problem but part of the solution. With the National Coordinator for Counterterrorism such a change of thinking has not yet occurred. The Eleventh progress report of the NCTb suggests that the Netherlands remains a ‘legitimate target’ in the eyes of international jihadist groups.
A major reason is supposedly “the tone of the debate on Islam” in the Netherlands. Perhaps the NCTb empathizes a little too much with the jihadists. It may be that these violent Muslim terrorists point at the debate on Islam in the Netherlands, but it goes too far to immediately believe that this is an important reason to consider attacks on our country.
With more credibility, one might conclude that terrorists use the Dutch debate Islam as an excuse. The real reason why they consider our country to be a legitimate target is their irrational and hypocritical ideological hatred against the West, and the simple fact that the Netherlands has not yet been conquered by Islam.
Because Islam is intent on conquest. It was not without reason that Pope Benedict XVI quoted the Byzantine emperor Manuel II Palaiologos in his Regensburg speech: “Show me what kind of new things Muhammad has brought about, and you’ll find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread the faith he preached with the sword.”
In 2007 the then National Coordinator for Counterterrorism Tjibbe Joustra did not want to know about it. He said: “The tone that people like PVV leader Geert Wilders take may lead to the radicalization of Muslims. […] Such radical statements may give the final push to individuals who are on the brink of violence.” The responsibility of the individuals who are likely to become violent was therefore completely taken away form such persons and placed on the plate of Wilders.
The AIVD and the NCTb are not doing that now. They do not need to, because Wilders will be prosecuted for his contributions to the public debate about Islam. Wilders is indicted for his “radical statements” about Islam and even because of quoting from or agreeing with statements made by others on this issue. For instance, Wilders is accused of stating that he agrees with the Regensburg speech by the Pope.
And also because he quoted the statement by Oriana Fallaci: “Moderate Islam does not exist. And it does not exist because there is no such thing as Good Islam and Bad Islam. There is Islam and that’s all. And Islam is the Koran. Nothing but the Koran. And the Koran is the Mein Kampf of a religion which has always aimed to eliminate the others… which calls non-Muslims infidel-dogs, meaning inferior beings. Read it over, that Mein Kampf. Whatever the version, you find out that all the evil which the sons of Allah commit against us and against themselves comes from that book.” 
Wilders is also charged with the fact that he cited the former chief of the Mossad, Ephraim Halevy. Halevy says that World War III has begun. “Those are not my words, but it is true,” Wilders said.
In brief: when the AIVD is right, and the public debate has contributed to the stagnation of the growth of Salafism in the Netherlands, there can be no conclusion except that Wilders deserves a little thank-you. His contributions to the public debate have not gone unnoticed. And even if the AIVD is not right, there still is no reason to charge Wilders with anything.
Wilders is not the first to state that the pope is right. He also is not the first to agree with the vision of Oriana Fallaci. But he is the first to be prosecuted for that reason [with Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff and Roger Köppel unfortunately probably next in line — translator]. Where are the human rights organizations to take it up for them? Where are the opinion leaders? Where is the public debate?
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 AIVD Report: ‘Weerstand en tegenkracht’
The growth of the Salafist movement in the Netherlands is stagnating due to increased resistance. With this a part of the breeding ground for radicalization also disappears. This is shown by the AIVD report “Weerstand en tegenkracht” (Resistance and Counterforce). This report is a follow up to the publication “Radical Dawa in Transition”, which was published in the autumn of 2007. Because Salafism is a movement that can have a polarizing effect on society, it remains important to fully monitor developments. By making a careful assessment of the threat we needs must avoid both an underestimation and an overestimation of the problem.
The report states that resistance has increased due to publications about the risks of Salafism and initiatives by local government. This contributed to the increasing resistance within the Dutch Muslim community against the radical dawa. Moderate Muslims increasingly dare to speak out at the local and national level against the anti-integrationist and intolerant isolationist message of the Salafist preachers. The AIVD has the past two years visiting several mayors and a dozen regional colleges to inform them about the nonviolent radical dawa.
Download the report [in Dutch] here.
 (Oriana Fallaci, The Force of Reason, post-script, p.305, February 2006. Citation from a speech by the Italian writer Oriana Fallaci which she gave in New York on November 28, 2005, when she was awarded a prize for her heroic resistance against Islamofascism and for her battle for freedom [taken from Geert Wilders’ website].