Counter-terrorism Policies VS Civil rights Policies
With the implementation of the 2004 - 2006 Crimes of Terrorism Acts, law enforcement agencies are allowed to carry-out counter measures, which Dutch citizens regard as a privacy infringement and a violation to their civil rights. These laws have strengthened law enforcement on the basis of allowing them to; search suspects without ‘concrete suspicion’ of a crime, utilize ‘special investigated powers’ and ‘Stop – and – Search’ citizens in special risk zones. However, the impact of these counter-terrorism measures has created a platform of ‘targeted’ individuals amongst minority communities in the Netherlands, in this regard, the Muslim community. Since the murder of Islam-critic Theo van Gogh, it has been documented that the fear of terrorism has decreased. Nonetheless, the Dutch Government still garners ethnic data which is used in categorized formats. In contrast to laws such as the ‘Personal Data Protection ACT (WBP)’ this forbids the gathering and processing of ethnic data. The establishment of these laws is seen as challenging human rights; rights to privacy, bodily integrity, non- discrimination and breaches the assumption of innocence.
A community not being heard
Lack of stakeholders and funding for civil rights organizations hinder the emergence and awareness regarding the impact of counter-terrorism measures within the Muslim community. Surveys and studies show a clear discriminatory pattern in regards to policing methods that target the Muslim society. Reports from international and national institutes have also indicated that ethnic and racial profiling is not uncommon in the Netherlands. The counter – terrorism measures that classify every Muslim community as ‘Jihadist terrorist fighters’ are becoming much of a norm in regards to combating terrorists.
Freedom & Security
The Dutch Ministry of Security and Justice is in-charge of reformation for counter – terrorism policies, which keeps the decision - making process centralized. Nevertheless, counter – terrorism measures and methods are decentralized amongst individual municipalities and law enforcement agencies within the Netherlands. In regards to this, local differences of counter – terrorism measures exist, which contravene on public opinion regarding the impact of these counter- terrorism measures. Citizens of the Netherlands are not willing to give up their privacy and infringe on their civil rights regarding the matter of national security. Politically, crime prevention and public security are crucial on the political agenda. Dutch citizens seem to disagree with the scope of counter measures and the emergence of a ‘surveillance society’. Moreover, the continuous lack of support for minority groups and anti – discrimination framework decreases any chances of critical research in regards to the impact of counter – terrorism measures towards the Muslim community.