The Netherlands has passed a law allowing it to strip the citizenship of any dual nationals suspected of being a member of Islamic State.
The Dutch parliament passed the landmark law on Tuesday after it had been introduced in the aftermath of the Paris terror attacks that occurred on November 13th of last year. The new law will allow Dutch police and security services to recommend a suspension of the citizenship and passport of any person considered a threat to Dutch national security, 7sur7 reports.
The Netherlands Ministry of Security and Justice said that Dutch fighters who go to Syria to fight for Islamic State and then return to Europe “may pose a direct threat to national security,” claiming that “in such a case, a rapid response is needed to avoid these people returning to the Netherlands.”
The Dutch government, likely pressured to make the move by the rise in popularity of anti-mass migration politician and Dutch Party for Freedom (PVV) leader Geert Wilders, stated that there was a great need for fast acting tools to combat the growing threat of Islamic State Terrorism.
The spokesman for the ministry made it clear that the decision to withhold citizenship rested in the view of the Minister of Justice, and could be applied to suspects who have not yet been convicted of terrorism offences.
While the jihadists will not be arrested for crimes relating to terrorism, they will be viewed as illegal aliens in the Netherlands and subject to deportation. The spokesman said that both measures in the new law would “prevent a legal return to the Netherlands and the Schengen area.”
Because of various international treaties that the Netherlands is party to, the government is unable to strip the citizenship of suspected terror suspects who only have Dutch nationality which otherwise would effectively make them stateless.
While the law allows a four week period for suspects to appeal the stripping of their citizenship, many in parliament say that the measures will only strive to radicalise young Muslims further. According to the Netherlands intelligence service (AIVD) around 200 Dutch nationals have joined Islamic State and travelled to either Syria or Iraq including at least 50 women.
Similar measures have been passed by various governments around the world in an effort to combat terrorism. Earlier this year in France the government voted to change the French constitution and strip the citizenship of any dual citizen convicted of terrorism charges — but the change was later abandoned by French president François Hollande.
Australia announced similar measures in April, after intelligence services in the country revealed they had at least 400 individuals under investigation in connection with links to radical Islamic groups.