Jelle van Buuren and Daan Weggemans on books on jihad in Vught prison library
Radical books on Islam glorifying armed jihad and humiliating Jews and Christians are available in the Vught prison library.
Experts are concerned that this type of literature is readily available inside prison walls. Researcher on terror Jelle van Buren compares it to ‘putting a kid in a candy store’. According to him, individual books need to be evaluated before adding them to the library. ‘Salafism exists in numerous variations’, he says. ‘But I don’t think it’s acceptable to provide prisoners with books that propagate the exact ideas that you are trying to eradicate. Deradicalisation is one of the goals of their prison sentence.’
Researcher Daan Weggemans is of the opinion that banning books in the terrorist wing might prove difficult. ‘Banning certain books is not that easy. Prisoners can invoke their right to freedom of religion. In many cases it is also a matter of interpretation. Should the prison decide to ban books, it would require an expert’s evaluation.’
Weggemans is confident that the inmates’ mentors and the prison imams keep tabs on the books ordered by prisoners. ‘It can also provide insight into someone’s progress in the deradicalisation process.’