AMSTERDAM, Netherlands – Dozens of young, disenchanted Muslims in the Netherlands likely are being recruited by radical groups for suicide missions worldwide, a Dutch internal intelligence service report said Monday.
Those recruitments began in the months after the Sept. 11 terror attacks in the United States and probably continue today, said the report by the agency known as AIVD.
"There is evidence that in the months after October 2001, several tens of Muslims left the Netherlands for Afghanistan or Pakistan to fight alongside their Islamic brothers against the United States and other 'enemies of Islam,"' the report said.
"It appears probable, by very conservative estimates, that several tens of people are at this moment somewhere in the recruitment process in the Netherlands."
Although many of the past recruits for jihad, or holy war, were radical Muslims living illegally in the Netherlands, recruiters now are targeting second-generation Muslims who "wrestle with their identity," the report said.
Muslim immigrant families comprise around 5 percent of the Netherlands' 16 million people.
AIVD chief Sybrand van Hulls said recruits could be sent on missions in the Netherlands or other western nations "at any moment." However, he told a news conference that his agency was unaware of any concrete threat.
An earlier AIVD investigation said two Dutch men killed by Indian troops in the disputed territory of Kashmir a year ago were recruited by Islamic militants in the southern Dutch city Eindhoven. The men were killed before they could complete their suicide mission, Indian authorities said.
Another 10 alleged members of Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups have been arrested in the Netherlands since September 2001 and accused of actively recruiting Dutch youth.
Said Boudouft, chairman of the Dutch Moroccan and Tunisian Partnership interest group, said the Netherlands is not a breeding ground for Islamic extremists.
"There's no poverty here that could drive people into the arms of terrorist groups," he told Dutch national radio NOS.
He believed that the Dutch Muslim community's sympathy for terrorist groups like Al Qaeda has weakened in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks.
"It's possible there are individuals here and there whose ideology would lead them to join these groups and or who could be recruited, but it's not a growing trend," he told NOS.