The perpetrator of the attack in the American border town of El Paso probably wrote a manifesto in which he used the controversial conspiracy theory of "whirling" of the white population as a motivation for the terrorist act. In the Netherlands, too, this omnivision theory is gaining ground.

Less than half an hour before Patrick Crusius opened fire in El Paso and set up a massacre killing 22 people, a racist manifesto appeared on the extreme right-wing forum 8chan, presumably from the hand of the 21-year-old white man.

Crusius speaks of an "invasion" of Latinos and refers to The Great Replacement , an extreme-right conspiracy theory. Supporters of this theory state that the white population is in danger of being replaced by immigrants.

"Right-wing extremism crosses national borders"

According to Bart Schuurman, terrorism expert at Leiden University, this philosophy is not a unique American problem. "Previously, right-wing extremism was more nationalistic in nature; focused on believing in the superiority of a specific country and its inhabitants," said Schuurman. "Right-wing extremism is now crossing national borders and it is about 'the white person' or 'the West' that needs to be protected against 'the strange'. These are Muslims, immigrants and also Jews."

The terrorism expert refers to the attack on a mosque in New Zealand's Christchurch where 51 Muslims were killed and the Norwegian extreme right-wing terrorist Anders Breivik who killed 77 people in 2011. Recently the German politician Walter Lübcke was murdered, the German justice assumes an extreme right-wing motive.

"We cannot view these attacks as a series of isolated incidents, they are interrelated," says Schuurman. The New York Times made an overview of right-wing extremist attacks from 2011 in which the attackers refer to each other in different ways.

Extreme right-wing in the Netherlands of limited size

The extreme right-wing ideology is also echoed in the Netherlands, but certainly the violent form is of limited scope, says Schuurman. "The problems are greater in the United Kingdom and Germany. It has not had the attention it should have had, as in the US."

Although the judge imposed imprisonment in 2016 for a terrorist attack on a mosque in Enschede, Schuurman states that the Netherlands has no problem with extreme right-wing terrorism. "The attack seems to have been an incident, but we have to stay sharp. It has the attention of the AIVD, among others, and I think they are in the right place."

The AIVD does not want to make any statements about how large the extreme right is in the Netherlands. A spokesperson said that there are various hard cores with sympathizers of varying sizes. The AIVD therefore makes no statements about the size of the groups. "We don't want to make people any wiser about what we do and don't know," said a spokesperson.

AIVD sees slight revival, concerns about aggressive tone

Within the fight against terrorism, most of the AIVD's attention is still focused on jihadist terrorism. According to the intelligence service, the actual threat of violence from right-wing extremists in the Netherlands is limited, but the AIVD has seen a slight revival of the extreme right since 2014 in connection with the rise of IS and the subsequent flow of refugees, according to an AIVD report on right-wing extremism.

Although violent acts by right-wing extremists are rare, the AIVD is concerned about "an increasingly aggressive and inflammatory" tone. The service sees among these extremists a "great fascination for firearms".

This does not necessarily mean that they will actually use violence. "But these developments and the growing group of (vulnerable) persons who come into contact with violent right-wing extremist ideas are a cause for concern," writes the AIVD.

"They create a climate in which the risk that (rapidly radicalizing) right-wing extremist individuals or small groups will use violence to make a statement is greater than in the past."

In the Netherlands, too, there has been a shift in right-wing extremist ideas from neo-Nazi, fascist and anti-Semitic to anti-Islamic ideas. "There is hardly any distinction between anti-Islam and anti-migration rhetoric. Migrants are Muslims, the reasoning seems," writes the AIVD.

In addition, there are concerns about the alt-right ideas that have come over from the US. This philosophy is based on the 'racial doctrine'. Supporters are against 'racial mixing' and strive for a homogeneous white 'ethnostat'. The aim, the AIVD writes, is that "a cultural transformation takes place towards a society in which racism is normal". "This to eventually pave the way for a political system that only guarantees the fundamental rights of the white citizen."

"PVV and FVD spread omnivision theory"

In politics, the theory of urbanization can be heard in the radical right-wing PVV and FVD.

Research by the Verwey-Jonker Institute, commissioned by the Anne Frank House, shows that the parties of Geert Wilders and Thierry Baudet spread the conspiracy theory that the Dutch population is 'being overcrowded'.

The PVV leader regularly distributes videos in which he warns of "invasions" from Africa and Islamic countries.

Baudet spoke earlier about the "homeopathic dilution of the Dutch population with all peoples of the world" and said that he wants Europe to remain "dominant white".

The FVD leader recently distributed a video from an extreme right-wing and openly anti-Semitic website. The video is from the Austrian right-wing extremist Identitäre Bewegung (IB), which adheres to the conspiracy theory of 'omvolking'.

"Xenophobia and fear images in political debate"

In a report published by the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) in June, independent researchers expressed their concerns about the public debate in the Netherlands that is strongly influenced by "xenophobia" and "fear images" that are being spread by PVV and FVD.

ECRI notes that other parties have adopted "we-they-contradictions" in their statements and make a distinction between "the ordinary Dutch" and Dutch with a migrant background.

For example, the researchers refer to statements by Prime Minister Mark Rutte (VVD) in 2017. He called on refugees and Dutch people with a migration background who "have difficulty with our country" to consider whether they still want to stay in the Netherlands.

ECRI also points to statements by Foreign Minister Stef Blok (VVD), who stated last summer that he knows no multicultural societies that are peaceful and that it is genetically determined that people do not bind themselves to "unknown people".

It is not clear how the supporters of the various political parties think about the theory of circumference and to what extent they adhere to extreme right-wing ideas. Insufficient scientific research has been done on this.


  • Want to know what you missed at night? And an update on the most important news around lunch? Subscribe now to our daily newsletter!