An all-expenses-paid study trip to the US: that was the offer to a number of prominent Dutch Muslims following the killing of controversial filmmaker Theo van Gogh in 2004. Now WikiLeaks documents reveal that these trips were part of a concerted effort by Washington to win the hearts and minds of Dutch Muslims. Among them was the current Mayor of Rotterdam, Ahmed Aboutaleb.
Nordin Ghoudani was one of those fortunate enough to be offered such a trip after being invited for a number of conversations at the US Embassy. Now that he is aware of being a cog in the wheel of US policy, he tells Dutch broadcaster NOS that he looks back on the trip with mixed feelings.
"The knowledge that Washington, and former president George W Bush, insisted on these trips... yes, that puts things in a different perspective."