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Bart Schuurman in the Groene Amsterdammer on the exchange of letters between Mohammed B. and ‘prisoner X’

Bart Schuurman, Assistant Professor at the Institute of Security and Global Affairs, discusses the development of the exchange of letters between Mohammed B. and ‘prisoner X’ and the usefulness of a separate terrorist department.

From an exchange of letters between Mohammed B. and 'prisoner X', it becomes clear how, fifteen years after Theo van Gogh's death, things are going with Mohammed B. These letters between Mohammed B. and 'prisoner X' were sent in 2017. Mohammed B. and 'prisoner X' came into contact after an incident. Mohammed B. sends the letters to 'prisoner X' in the terrorist department in Vught. The letters not only show how Mohammed B. is doing now, but they also raise questions about the usefulness and the necessity of a separate terrorist department. This special department was created after Mohammed B. had committed the murder of Theo van Gogh. According to the law Mohammed B. was part of the Hofstadgroup. This is a group of radical muslims. After the arrest of Mohammed B. more arrests follow and the members of the group end up in different prisons. However, the judiciary fears and hears that they are trying to radicalise other detainees there. A plan is devised to prevent this development. From now on terror suspects and convicted terrorists are placed in a special prison department.

No jihadist texts

According to Bart Schuurman it appears from the letters, among other things, that Mohammed B. is still the same Mohammed B. as he was fifteen years ago. "He is still stuck in the character he made of himself. He is that self-proclaimed islam expert he was at the time of the Hofstadgroup. He wasn't so much the leader, but rather the teacher, to whom you could turn with your questions." Besides that Bart Schuurman sees no trace of jihadist texts in the letters, but he does say that all those years Mohammed B. has been an example for people who went on the jihadist path. Bart Schuurman explains: "Between 2014 and 2016 you sometimes saw obituaries of Dutch jihadists on Facebook, with a spell from the letter Mohammed B. had left on Van Gogh's body. So the contemporary generation still gets inspiration from what he has done."

Nevertheless Bart Schuurman thinks that because of the prison's control over the speeches and expressions of detainees, the words of Mohammed B. are less radical than what these people heard in the IS area.

Read the article here

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