The Netherlands: A hotline and website for parents against radicalization

The Cooperative Union of Dutch Moroccans SMN is launching a hotline and website for radicalization Dutch parents who fearthat their children may be considering of going to Syria for military jihad and who don’t know what to do about it.

According to SMN spokesman Farid Azarkan there are many parents who do not really know what their children are going through, how they should deal with it and how to get help. They do not trust government departments, are afraid of being stigmatized and unsure about their own educative role. The initiative for the hotline was realized without support from Government.

At the moment the hotline is meant for Moroccan Dutch parents but “the organization will not turn back other families who have concerns.” Parents with concerns are appointed a confidant so they do not have to fear they or their children will be the subject of police investigation or media attention because of their appeal to the hotline.

SMN trained 20 confidants who will cover several cities in the Netherlands that have a reputation for problems concerning radicalization such as The Hague, Arnhem, Delft, Amersfoort, Zoetermeer, Zeist, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht, Gouda. Project manager Chakib Lamnadi said they want to expand the initiative to other cities as well: “Huizen and Tilburg have also indicated that they need an arrangement,”.

“Nobody knows how to approach the jihadist phenomenon. Everybody – including the official institutes- is looking for a solution. I would like to help find a solution together with the parents who are often ashamed,” one of the confidants said after one of the training sessions. The confidants prefer to remain anonymous themselves as well because of the sensitive nature of the work.

They hint that it is often not clear to the parents what their children are dealing with, but at the same time parents often encounter indifference when they approach the appropriate departments. “You say your son left with a car and €1,100 in his pocket? I’m sorry, there’s not much we can do; he is a grown up,” one parent was told when she informed a Government office that her son had left for Turkey and did not want to return. Parents have many questions that often go unanswered.

“Seeking assistance in the Netherlands is a specific competence,” said Fouad el Haji, a former PvdA Second Chamber member from Rotterdam. He said the SMN hotline should offer some security.

You can find the website here (in Dutch):


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