Changing one's beliefs? An analysis of the connection between ideology and political violence within Dutch deradicalization policy
Eckeveld, H.M. van
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The purpose of this study is to research how the Dutch central government views the connection between ideology, more specific Islamic ideology, and political violence by analyzing Dutch deradicalization policy. How ideology is touched upon in these programs is examined through three confusions that exist within deradicalization research, introduced by Koehler. The first confusion is about the meaning of ideology, often swapping it with concepts such as ‘worldview,’ ‘system of beliefs,’ or equal it to ‘theology.’ The second confusion is about false positives and negatives regarding ideology, meaning that ‘being ideological’ is often equal to ‘being ideologically or theologically literate.’ The third confusion is about multiple intertwined concepts and terms that are entirely unintelligible without ideology, such as ‘grievances,’ ‘black and white thinking,’ and ‘collective norms.’ Two programs initiated by the NCTV have been analyzed through these confusions by applying textual analysis: team TER and Forsa. Furthermore, counterterrorism strategies published by the NCTV have been studied in the same manner. The findings show that Koehler’s three confusions are least applicable to the 2011-2015 counterterrorism strategy, as ideology is given much credit and its functions are acknowledged. The confusions apply to most parts of the counterterrorism strategy from 2015-2020 and on team TER and Forsa’s descriptions and evaluations, as ideology is much less mentioned and not explained in-depth, as other factors are seen as sometimes more important within deradicalization. The findings thus show a pattern of deterioration over time when it comes to ideology within Dutch deradicalization policy and of the knowledge of Salafi jihadi narratives that could help to understand and counter that ideology.