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Dutch ministers reveal Morocco gathering intelligence

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

THE HAGUE – In a joint letter, two members of the Dutch cabinet have informed the Second Chamber that Morocco has been gathering intelligence on the Moroccan Dutch community. Replying by letter is a customary procedure when formally answering questions raised by members of the Chamber. The controversy arose when it became known that a Rotterdam policeman of Moroccan origin was fired from his job for providing information on the community to Moroccan officials. According to the letter signed by Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Verhagen and Internal Affairs Minister Guusje ter Horst, Morocco (and other unnamed countries) gathers intelligence on circles in the Netherlands aligned with opposition parties who are illegal at home. As well, it monitors perceived radicalism in immigrant groups, which are inclined to acts of terrorism in their home country. The ministers state that such recruitment attempts took place on a limited scale. Certain countries of origin also try to influence immigrant groups, they note. Moroccans in the Netherlands have felt intimidated at times, and the ministers view this as a threat to the Netherlands’s democratic system. The contacts with immigrants must not be coercive in nature, according to the Dutch minister.