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Constant Hijzen in Trouw about Public Information from the AIVD

On 19 April, several mosque organisations criticized the way in which the Dutch intelligence service wrote the annual report about increasing 'anti-democratic' tendencies in after-school lessons in Islam and Arabic. Constant Hijzen, assistant professor of Intelligence Studies at the Institute of Security and Global Affairs (ISGA), gives his opinion on the public information of the AIVD.

The mosque administrators find the information in the annual report too vague and that it seems as if the entire Muslim community is being made suspicious. ‘A typical example of the inconvenience in communication between a service such as the AIVD and the outside world,’ says Constant Hijzen. ‘The intelligence service cannot say much, not mention names and numbers. But in the context of their assignment you have to assume that they don't just communicate something. The problem is: we as a society cannot control that, because we do not know the considerations. So it requires some trust.’

Discussion

Hijzen thinks it is worth discussing whether AIVD has provided sufficient context for communication about after-school lessons. ‘The AIVD deals with issues that are so fiercely discussed in society that it is good to provide more explanation about how they take on their duties and how investigations are generally conducted. I think the service is finding that, by actively communicating, it has itself become a social actor.’

Read the full article at Trouw (Dutch).

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