The fifth monitor report reveals that the terrorist attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001, had damaging consequences to the relationships between immigrants and natives in the Netherlands.

Climate of tolerance deteriorates

The climate of tolerance has deteriorated in the years 2001 and 2002.

Like in earlier reports, the study was aimed at racial and right-wing extremist violence, right-wing extremist formations, complaints on racism and discrimination, treatment of facts of discrimination by the Public Prosecutor's Office and racial discrimination in different social areas. The fifth report also pays attention to the degree of racism and right-wing extremism inside the "LPF/Leefbaar movement."

Traces of 9/11

The researchers found traces of "9/11" in nearly all fields that are covered by the monitor study. Immediately after the attacks in America, there was a series of incidents, which were aimed against Muslims. Mosques were especially targeted in a series of violent acts, which lasted for several months. The increased number of complaints about discrimination, racism and anti-Semitism in 2001 was also marked. The public debate on minorities and integration has also hardened.

11 September 2001: Balls of flames and smoke billow out of the top floors of the World Trade Center Towers in New York City. (Photo: ANP)

Racist and right-wing extremist violence

Despite the series of violent acts after "September 11", the number of racist and right-wing extremist acts of violence has decreased for the first time in years. The decrease in 2001 is the result of the fact that less target graffiti has been registered.

Police and the law

In the investigation and persecution of discriminatory facts, stubborn problems occur. This mainly concerns the lax action from the police in the reporting and recording of discrimination. The Public Prosecutor is too passive in Internet cases.

The LPF/Leefbaar-movement

The researchers feel that the "LPF/Leefbaar-movement" cannot simply be branded "racist" or "right-wing extremist." It has been determined that this movement attracts right-wing extremist circles. Attempts by right-wing extremists to play a more active role have failed as a rule because of the top of the "LPF/Leefbaar-movement," who have excluded right-wing extremists.

Balance between freedom of expression and discrimination

What is striking is the tendency to broadening of the freedom of expression. This gives expressive offences such as racist slurs and inciting racial hatred a different limitation than previously: it is possible to say more. The freedom of expression for right-wing extremism has also increased, because several initially prohibited demonstrations took place after judicial intervention. A new balance between freedoms of expression and expressive offences will need to be found inside the boundaries of the international treaties of human rights.

This report was researched and written by Jaap van Donselaar (Anne Frank House and Leiden University) and Peter R. Rodrigues (Anne Frank House).

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Jaap van Donselaar and Peter R. Rodrigues, Racism and Extreme Right Monitor: fifth report, Amsterdam: Anne Frank House / Leiden University, 2002.

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