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Dutch public apprehensive over extent of extremism

Multiculturalism contentious

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

AMSTERDAM – The National Security Survey 2007 indicates that the Dutch are apprehensive about the effects of extremism. Almost 80 percent of the population believes that the Netherlands has extremist groups that threaten the country’s freedom. Fundamentalists and religious fanatics are primarily seen as the greatest threat.

The National Security Survey 2007 interviewed just over 1,000 residents.

Terrorists and members of extreme right-wing groups were also cited as a threat to the constitutional state, but markedly less frequently than were fundamentalists and religious fanatics.

The middle-aged Dutch public in particular sees extremism as a threat. Highly educated people were more likely to indicate that there are groups in the Netherlands which endanger freedom.

The Dutch see freedom as an important cornerstone of their democracy. The freedom of expression is particularly highly valued, the survey revealed.

Respondents felt this freedom was certainly under pressure: almost 40 percent said that they cannot always freely express their opinion, especially when debating the merits of a multicultural society.

"Evidently this debate has become so polarized that people feel they cannot always say what they like," the report reveals.