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Thread: Dutch filmmaker killed for "offending Islam"

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    Dutch filmmaker killed for "offending Islam"

    Notice the typically spineless, cowardly reaction of Dutch politicians.


    By TOBY STERLING

    AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) - A Dutch filmmaker who had received death threats after releasing a movie criticizing the treatment of women under Islam was slain in Amsterdam on Tuesday, police said.

    A suspect, a 26-year-old man with dual Dutch-Moroccan nationality, was arrested after a shootout with officers that left him wounded, police said.

    Filmmaker Theo van Gogh had been threatened after the August airing of the movie "Submission," which he made with a right-wing Dutch politician who had renounced the Islamic faith of her birth. Van Gogh had received police protection after its release.

    Dutch national broadcaster NOS and other media reported that Van Gogh's killer shot and stabbed his victim and left a note on his body. NOS said witnesses described the attacker as having an "Arab appearance."

    A witness who lives in the neighborhood heard six shots, and saw the man concealing a gun. She said he walked away slowly, spoke to someone at the edge of the park, and then ran.

    "He was walking slowly, like he was trying to be cool," she said, describing him as wearing a long beard and Islamic garb. "He was either an Arabic man or someone disguised as a Muslim," she said.

    Another witness told Dutch Radio 1 the killer arrived by bicycle and shot Van Gogh as he got out of a car. "He fell backward on the bicycle path and just laid there. The shooter stayed next to him and waited. Waited to make sure he was dead."

    The slain filmmaker was the great grandson of the brother of famous Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh, who was also named Theo. In a recent radio interview, Van Gogh dismissed the threats and called the movie "the best protection I could have. It's not something I worry about."

    Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende called on the Dutch people to remain calm.

    "Nothing is known about the motive," he said in a written statement. "I want to call on everyone not to jump to far-reaching conclusions. The facts must first be carefully weighed so let's allow the investigators to do their jobs."

    Balkenende praised Van Gogh as a proponent of free speech who had "outspoken opinions."

    "It would be unacceptable if a difference of opinion led to this brutal murder," he said.

    Police spokesman Eric Vermeulen said the attacker fled to the nearby East Park, and was arrested after exchanging gunfire with police. Both the suspect and a policeman suffered minor injuries.

    "They were conscious" when taken to hospital, Vermeulen said.

    Van Gogh's killing immediately rekindled memories of the 2002 assassination of Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn who polarized the nation with his anti-immigration views and was shot to death days before national elections.

    In addition to his film, van Gogh also wrote columns about Islam that were published on his Web site, www.theovangogh.nl, and Dutch newspaper Metro.

    The short television film "Submission" aired on Dutch television in August, enraged the Muslim community in the Netherlands.

    It told the fictional story of a Muslim woman forced into a violent marriage, raped by a relative and brutally punished for adultery.

    The English-language film was scripted by a right-wing politician who years ago renounced the Islamic faith of her birth and now refers to herself as an "ex-Muslim."

    Somali-born Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a member of the Dutch parliament, has repeatedly outraged fellow Muslims by criticizing Islamic customs and the failure of Muslim families to adopt Dutch ways.

    The place of Muslim immigrants in Dutch society has long been a contentious issue in the Netherlands, where many right-wing politicians have pushed for tougher immigration laws and say Muslims already settled in the country must make a greater effort to assimilate.

    Theo van Gogh, 47, has often come under criticism for his controversial movies. In December, his next movie "06-05," about the May 6, 2002 assassination of Pim Fortuyn, is scheduled to debut on the Internet.

    http://apnews.myway.com/article/20041102/D863NRS80.html

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    From the BNP website:

    2nd November 2004
    Lee Barnes, LLB (Hons) reports on today's murder of a Dutch film maker by islamicists.

    The Dutch film maker Theo van Gogh, who made a controversial film attacking islamic culture, has been stabbed and shot dead in Amsterdam.

    Van Gogh, 47, had received death threats from Muslim extremists after his film "Submission", about sexual violence within Islam and the organised oppression of women in islamic societies, was shown on Dutch TV.

    Extremists "sheltered" - claim

    The film was made with the black liberal Dutch politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali refugee who fled an arranged islamic marriage. Ayaan has frequently attacked the extremists sheltered by the moderate Islamic leadership inside in the islamic faith and has been in hiding from attacks since she started her public campaign against islamic fundamentalism in Holland. Ayaan Hirsi Ali has since renounced the islamic faith.


    During the arrest of the assassin, believed to be a Moroccan, both the suspect and a policeman suffered bullet wounds and are now in hospital.
    Pym Fortuyn film

    Van Gogh - who was related to the famous Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh - had also been making a film about Pim Fortuyn, the populist right-wing, anti-immigration politician assassinated in May 2002 by a far left extremist. Pim Fortuyn had received death threats from islamic fundamentalists but the police had also refused to give him police protection.

    The film "Submission" made by Van Gogh told the story of a Muslim woman forced into an arranged marriage and who is then abused by her husband and raped by her uncle. It triggered an outcry from Dutch Muslims who could not tolerate public debate about the secret internal evils of islamic social structures and who wanted the media to be forced under the Race Relations Acts to only be allowed to debate the positive nature of Islam.

    Proposed legislation

    Under David Blunkett's proposed 'religious hatred' law for Britain the film "Submission" would be banned in Britain as an 'incitement to religious hatred' and those possessing a copy of the film would be liable for a term of imprisonment for possessing a 'religious hatred' film. Blunkett's law will destroy democratic debate in Britain and will betray the sacrifice of this brave man whose bullet riddled body reveals the true nature of the 'tolerance' of the followers of Islam.

    The Netherlands is home to nearly one million Muslims or 5.5% of the population, though the real figures are unknown as the liberal Dutch state will not investigate the true number of illegal Muslims in Holland for fear of causing racial unrest in the areas run by the islamic mosques and religious leaders.

    One of the film maker's colleagues at the film production company where he worked said Van Gogh had received death threats "but he never took them quite seriously". This is a lesson to all European Nationalist patriots and politicians - and also all European liberals.

    Freedom of speech threatened

    The islamic terrorist threat to our freedom of speech and civil liberties is not just in Iraq, it is in our towns and cities and growing stronger every day. Tolerating Islamo-Fascism in our own nations leads to murder on our own city streets.

    Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende has said "it is unacceptable if expressing your opinion would be the cause of this brutal murder". Though of course any criticism of the islamic followers that committed the murder will also be similarly muted.

    Queen Beatrix has said she is also shocked and appalled at the killing.

    Condolences

    We in the BNP send our regards and condolences to the family of this brave man. We will not forget his sacrifice for the principal of European Freedom Of Speech. On the day we take power in Britain we will pass emergency legislation through Parliament to tear up every Race Relations Act, every Liberal Fascist law that criminalises free speech and every piece of legislation that makes free men afraid to speak the truth in their own country.

    Martyr list is growing

    The list of martyrs of the 'European Patriot Revolution' that is flourishing across all of Europe will grow longer until all our freedoms are won back from the Islamo-Fascists and the Liberal Appeaser Politicians that grovel before them - but it is the essential struggle of the 21st Century and one we will not fail.

    The 'Liberati' - the Liberal Fascist Elite - are now increasingly seen by the European people as the enemies of our true European democracies, but soon they and their lies and sick double standards will be swept away.

    The list of European martyrs killed by Muslims is growing:

    http://www.balder.org/articles/hates...der-Sweden.php

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    Not living in Germany, I often forget that today's Germans are completely insane masochists:

    An entry at the Gene Expression blog on the killing of the filmmaker:


    I corresponded with a German friend about this today. Her reaction: It's because of Bush's war and European and American racism. Pure insanity, and this is an intelligent person. I'm really dismayed with European pc-ism, anti-Americanism and self-hatred.
    om_shalom | Email | Homepage | 11.02.04 - 6:26 pm | #
    http://www.gnxp.com/
    In other words, it's mainly because of Dutch racism that van Gogh was killed, you see?

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    Dutch Protesters call for Hitler to be brought back from the grave

    Dutch fear loss of tolerance
    By Perro de Jong
    Radio Netherlands, Hilversum


    When the populist politician Pim Fortuyn was assassinated two years ago, it was said the Netherlands had lost its innocence.


    By comparison, film maker Theo van Gogh's murder has evoked sensations of déjà vu, rather than disbelief. But that does not mean the fall-out will be any less serious.

    In 2002, the revelation that Pim Fortuyn's killer was a very Dutch environmental activist, and not a Muslim, had a sobering effect on the angry mobs who were ready to go on the rampage, torch in hand.

    But this time, there were eyewitness descriptions of the murderer's traditional Moroccan jallaba.

    And then there was the manner in which Van Gogh was killed: his throat was reportedly cut, bringing to mind the words of an angry Muslim only a few months ago that people like Van Gogh who blasphemed against Islam should be "slaughtered like pigs".

    Racial tension

    "Today is the day I became a racist," was one of the typical reactions that appeared on Dutch websites on Tuesday, even before it had been officially confirmed that the killer was of Moroccan descent.


    Other reactions were more extreme, calling for Hitler to be brought back from the grave or for all "foreigners" to be deported from the Netherlands at once.
    Meanwhile, several websites for Dutch Moroccans were taken offline when people wrote in to express their approval of the killing.

    Dutch Muslim leaders such as Ayhan Tonca were quick to distance themselves from these extreme reactions, saying that even if they had found Van Gogh's films and newspaper columns blasphemous, Muslims "must strongly protest that this kind of assassination is not accepted by the Muslim community."

    A large number of Dutch Muslims were among the crowd protesting against the killing in Amsterdam's Dam Square on Tuesday, carrying banners with slogans such as "not in the name of my Islam".

    MPs under pressure

    The government, meanwhile, appeared eager not to repeat the mistakes the main political parties had made two years ago, when they were accused of downplaying the importance of what had happened.

    Jozias van Aartsen, leader of the Liberal VVD Party, was one of the first to suggest a link between the Dutch Moroccan arrested for the murder and "terrorism."


    "Democracy is in danger," was Mr Van Aartsen's unambiguous comment.
    And Rita Verdonk, the immigration minister whose tough policies have proved increasingly unpopular with the Dutch public, was one of the main speakers at the mass demonstration in Dam Square.

    Still, the politicians will have to defend themselves against accusations that they closed their eyes to the rise of Islamic fundamentalism.

    Backlash

    A close friend and colleague of Theo van Gogh, columnist Ebru Umar, said she did not think the government would act even now: "This is the Netherlands, nothing will happen."

    And Somali-born MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who worked with Van Gogh on his controversial film called Submission, said it was an "outright scandal" that the government had not offered him better protection.

    Fortuyn's assassination in 2002 triggered a fierce anti-government backlash and the left-wing Labour Party saw its vote almost halved in the elections that followed.

    This time, with a right-wing government in power, the sense of disillusionment is even stronger, as many people feel they are running out of non-violent alternatives.

    "Van Gogh may not have survived," warned the Dutch daily De Stem, "but his dedication to freedom of speech should survive, and you cannot defend that freedom with violence against a whole group".

    The daily De Volkskrant meanwhile said Muslims "will have to accept that, in a democracy, religion, too, is open to criticism - this applies to Islam no less than to Christianity".

    "Theo van Gogh in this respect always purposefully went to the limits of decency. Many have regularly had reason to feel hurt or offended by him. In a democracy, those who want to defend themselves against this can go to court. Any other curtailment of free speech is inadmissible," it commented.


    Story from BBC NEWS:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/h...pe/3980371.stm

    Published: 2004/11/03 19:15:50 GMT

    © BBC MMIV

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    Quote Originally Posted by friedrich braun
    "Today is the day I became a racist," was one of the typical reactions that appeared on Dutch websites on Tuesday, even before it had been officially confirmed that the killer was of Moroccan descent.

    Other reactions were more extreme, calling for Hitler to be brought back from the grave or for all "foreigners" to be deported from the Netherlands at once.
    The birth of reason from the spirit of multiculturalism. :icon_ques I hope that not too few also stay aware and not fall back again after such first emotional hyper-reactions.
    Man ſei Held oder Heiliger. In der Mitte liegt nicht die Weisheit, ſondern die Alltäglichkeit.

    SPENGLER

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    Dutch multiculturalists believed that Muslim immigrants and the Dutch could co-exis

    Fatal Detraction

    A provocative, and offensive, filmmaker and columnist attacks Islam and pays with his life.

    BY LEON DE WINTER
    Friday, November 5, 2004 12:01 a.m.

    AMSTERDAM--It was only two years ago that an animal-rights extremist assassinated the populist Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn, explaining later in court that he did so, in part, to stop Fortuyn from using Muslim immigrants as "scapegoats." Now the Netherlands is once again in shock. On Tuesday, the filmmaker and newspaper columnist Theo van Gogh--a distant descendant of the artist Vincent--was murdered, allegedly by a Muslim immigrant (now in police custody). On Wednesday the police arrested eight Islamic radicals in connection with the slaying. The Netherlands prides itself on being a liberal and tolerant country. What is going on?
    Like Mr. Fortuyn, whom he admired, Mr. Van Gogh was a radical libertarian, a champion of free speech who refused to be constrained by taboos or social codes. I know from personal experience what it felt like to be the target of his invective.

    Mr. Van Gogh's pen could be vulgar and radical, and he managed to offend me more than once. In 1984, after I directed a feature film called "Frontiers," about a Dutch journalist who goes abroad to interview a terrorist and discovers his own violent side, Mr. Van Gogh accused me of "selling out my Jewish identity," although there was not a single Jewish character in the picture. Writing elsewhere about Jewish writers or filmmakers, he made Holocaust-tinged jokes like: "Hey, it smells like caramel today--well then, they must be burning the diabetic Jews." Such attacks went on for almost 20 years. (Mr. Van Gogh was 47 when he died.)

    To be clear: Mr. Van Gogh did not limit himself to Jewish topics. He attacked Christian values and symbols as well. Theodor Holman, another Dutch columnist, once wrote that "every Christian is a criminal," and a storm of controversy broke out. Mr. Van Gogh came to his defense by writing that people offended by those words were only "the fan club of that rotting fish in Nazareth." After viewing Mel Gibson's recent film, Mr. Van Gogh remarked in the daily Metro: "I just went to see 'The Passion of the Christ,' a film as bad as an LSD trip which shows once again that also in the sewers of Christianity collective daftness just leads to mud."

    After the death of Mr. Fortuyn, who warned that Holland's open culture would clash with its growing Muslim community, Mr. Van Gogh turned his attention to Islam, spewing invective in his columns and earning many enemies. Many people went out of their way to avoid him, including me.





    Even so, Mr. Van Gogh remained a member of the artistic establishment. He worked for the leading Dutch television companies, for newspapers and magazines. In August he caused a sensation by collaborating with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali who fled to Holland 10 years ago and who eventually won a seat in Parliament. Two years ago, Ms. Hirsi Ali declared that she no longer considered herself a Muslim. Death threats followed, and she was given round-the-clock protection by the Dutch secret service. Certain segments of the public hailed her as the true heir of Mr. Fortuyn. She certainly has a charismatic persona: She is black, beautiful and elegant--and knows Islam inside-out.
    It was the film that Mr. Van Gogh and Ms. Hirsi Ali made, "Submission"--the title is a literal translation of the Arabic word "Islam"--that appears to have led to Van Gogh's murder. In his 20-minute movie, based on Ms. Hirsi Ali's script and screened on television in August, Mr. Van Gogh portrayed written passages from the Koran on partially clothed female bodies to accentuate the texts' hostility to women. The intention, of course, was to provoke a discussion among female Muslims.

    And provocative the film was, but in the context of Holland's often brazen filmmaking culture it was reasonably cautious and subtle. In fact, it led me for the first time to write something positive about Mr. Van Gogh. I thought the negative reaction to "Submission" was unfair. In Elsevier magazine I wrote that the "people who are offended by this film have a big problem." I noted that it did not openly show naked women--as so many critics had claimed--and that it was rather modest in its style, subdued and carefully made.

    In his own statements, Mr. Van Gogh made no concessions to the sensibilities of Holland's Muslim immigrants. He was an artiste provocateur--troublesome, offensive and hyperbolic but, it should be said, accepted within the wide boundaries of Dutch culture.

    But not by everyone. On Tuesday, a 26-year-old observant Muslim named Mohammed B. (officials are withholding his family name) decided to act, unable to accept that unbelievers like Mr. Van Gogh might be led to criticize or ridicule Islam. The son of immigrants who had found work, prosperity and freedom in the Netherlands, he had a history of violence and, it now appears, was allied with a group of radical Muslims.

    Having shot Mr. Van Gogh while the filmmaker was riding his bicycle, and clutching a knife in both hands, Mohammed B. tried to cut off Van Gogh's head--"as if he were slicing bread," as one eyewitness related. For the deed, he had dressed himself in traditional Moroccan garb and, it seems, attempted to ritually slaughter the infidel, like an animal. He stuck a note on Van Gogh's chest with a knife.

    The minister of justice announced yesterday that the note was a letter addressed to Ms. Hirsi Ali, threatening her and filled with threats and anti-Semitic remarks. The letter, he noted, "shows an extreme religious ideology; it says that its enemies should fear for their lives." The minister of the interior, for his part, remarked that the letter was "a direct attack on the Dutch democratic system."





    And so it seems to be. In a strange and appalling way, Mohammed B. did to Mr. Van Gogh what Mr. Van Gogh did to the actresses and extras in "Submission"--the essential difference being that the actresses could wash the words away and leave the studio without a care, while the words on Mr. Van Gogh were pinned by his murderer to his dead flesh.
    This difference highlights what many in the Netherlands see as an enormous problem with the fundamentalist parts of Arab-Islamic cultures: an inability to view the world according to abstract principles, to transcend the literally militant passages of sacred texts. To some, the Koran to this day offers no prospect of a free interpretation, or a tolerant one, that can exist alongside the free speech of a liberal society.

    In the heyday of their multicultural utopia, the Dutch political and intellectual elites believed that radical Muslims and radical libertarians could exist peacefully together in the same society. In recent years it has become clear that such a belief was an illusion, although the politically correct media long tried to avoid the whole subject.

    Mr. Fortuyn, in his outspoken political career, broke the taboos surrounding the problems of immigration and paid with his life. Mr. Van Gogh paid the same price for a provocation that, had it been directed at Christianity rather than Islam, would have hardly raised an eyebrow.

    Mr. de Winter is a Dutch novelist and adjunct fellow at the Hudson Institute.


    Copyright © 2004 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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    Netherlands braces for 'jihad'
    By Anthony Deutsch
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Published November 6, 2004

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    THE HAGUE -- The Dutch government yesterday vowed tough measures against what a leading politician called "the arrival of jihad in the Netherlands" after a death threat to a Dutch lawmaker was found spiked with a knife to the body of a slain filmmaker by his radical Muslim attacker.
    A five-page letter released Thursday night by the justice minister forced political leaders -- including Amsterdam's Jewish mayor and members of parliament -- to take on bodyguards.
    The document, attached to the body of filmmaker Theo van Gogh, was titled "An Open Letter to [Aayan] Hirsi Ali," referring to a Somali-born member of parliament. She had scripted Mr. van Gogh's latest film, "Submission," which criticized the treatment of women under Islam.
    Miss Hirsi Ali, who calls herself an ex-Muslim, has gone into hiding.
    "Death, Ms. Hirsi Ali, is the common theme of all that exists. You and the rest of the cosmos cannot escape this truth," the letter said.
    "There will come a day when one soul cannot help another soul. A day that goes paired with terrible tortures, ... when the unjust will press horrible screams from their lungs.
    "Screams, Ms. Hirsi Ali, that will cause chills to run down a person's back, and make the hairs on their heads stand straight up. People will be drunk with fear, while they are not drunken. Fear will fill the air on the Great Day," the letter said.
    "I know definitely that you, Oh America, will go down. I know definitely that you, Oh Europe, will go down. I know definitely that you, Oh Netherlands, will go down. I know definitely that you, Oh Hirsi Ali, will go down," it said.
    Deputy Prime Minister Gerrit Zalm agreed with comments by other politicians who called Mr. van Gogh's slaying a declaration of Islamic jihad, or "holy war."
    "We are not going to tolerate this. We are going to ratchet up the fight against this sort of terrorism," he said. "The increase in radicalization is worse than we had thought."
    Among measures under consideration is an emergency law to enable authorities to revoke the Dutch nationality of dual citizens suspected of terrorist activity so that they can be deported.
    Mr. Zalm said the intelligence service, which already has expanded since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States, would receive more funding to help it monitor potential terrorist recruits.
    The suspected killer in the van Gogh case, a 26-year-old Dutch-Moroccan national, was arraigned on six terrorism-related charges.
    Mr. van Gogh, a descendant of 19th-century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh, was fatally shot and stabbed Tuesday while cycling down an Amsterdam street. The remains of the provocative social commentator and author, whose throat was slashed in the attack, will be cremated Tuesday in a public service.
    The slaying is testing already strained relations between the ethnic Dutch population and the Muslim community. There are about 300,000 Moroccan immigrants in the Netherlands out of a population of 16 million.
    Mr. Zalm said talks were ongoing with Muslim groups over how to avoid a violent backlash against Muslims.
    Arsonists are believed to have set fire to a mosque in the central Dutch city of Utrecht, police spokesman Peter Keijzers said. There were no reports of injuries.
    Jozias van Aartsen, parliamentary speaker for the nationalist People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), the second-largest party in the government of Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, issued a statement that called Mr. van Gogh's slaying tantamount to a declaration of war.
    "The jihad has come to the Netherlands and a small group of jihadist terrorists is attacking the principles of our country," he said. "I hope the Netherlands will now move beyond denial and do what is fitting in a democracy -- take action.
    "These people don't want to change our society, they want to destroy it," he said.
    The terrorist threat left by Mr. van Gogh's killer carries the ideology of a terrorist movement, Takfir wal Hijra or "Repentance and Flight," which advocates isolation from what it calls the sinful world, Dutch press reported.
    Chief prosecutor Leo de Wit said the suspected killer, identified only as Mohammed B., faces at least six terrorism-related counts, including charges of murder and "participating in a criminal organization with terrorist characteristics."
    The suspect, wounded in the leg in a shootout with police, has refused to talk to investigators. He was arrested with a note in his pocket titled "Drenched in Blood."
    Authorities arrested eight other suspects in Mr. van Gogh's slaying and are looking into any links between the suspects and foreign terrorist groups.
    Two suspects were released, Mr. de Wit said yesterday. Six will be charged with conspiring to commit murder, he said.
    Prosecutors said all are Islamic radicals of North African ancestry. Four also were arrested Oct. 23 on suspicion of plotting a terrorist attack but were released for lack of evidence. Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner told parliament the four had contacts with a suspect in last year's Casablanca bombings.




    Copyright © 2004 News World Communications, Inc. All rights reserved.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Return to the article

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    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/3991547.stm

    Monday, 8 November, 2004, 10:30 GMT

    Dutch Muslim school hit by bomb


    The blast caused extensive damage to the Muslim school

    A bomb explosion has hit an Islamic school in the Netherlands, as tensions run high after the murder of controversial film-maker Theo van Gogh.

    Monday's blast in the southern city of Eindhoven caused heavy damage, destroying doors and windows.

    Police say it could be a revenge attack for the killing of Van Gogh by a suspected Islamic radical last week.

    Mosques in several Dutch cities have been the targets of vandalism and failed arson attempts in recent days.

    The Eindhoven explosion - which occurred around 0230 GMT on Monday - was caused by a "strong bomb or explosive", a police spokesman told the BBC News website.

    Windows in neighbouring buildings were shattered, he added. No-one was hurt.

    Police are investigating possible links between the attack and Van Gogh's killing.

    Backlash?

    The authorities have been on alert for revenge attacks on Muslims.

    Over the past three days attempted attacks against Muslim targets have been reported in the cities of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Breda and Huizen.


    Van Gogh directed TV series and wrote newspaper columns

    The film-maker was shot and stabbed in Amsterdam on Tuesday.

    Several men, all believed to be Islamic radicals, have been arrested.

    The Dutch government has vowed to take tough action against Muslim militants.

    Police say they found a letter signed by an unknown group on Van Gogh's body containing threats to kill liberal politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

    Ms Hirsi Ali is a Somali refugee who wrote the script to Van Gogh's controversial film Submission, which criticised the treatment of women under Islam. On Sunday Dutch police arrested two men who had allegedly called for the beheading of Geert Wilders, a member of parliament, in the name of Islam. Mr Wilders has said he will set up an anti-immigration party in the wake of Van Gogh's death.


  10. #10
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/3980371.stm

    Dutch fear loss of tolerance

    By Perro de Jong
    Radio Netherlands, Hilversum


    When the populist politician Pim Fortuyn was assassinated two years ago, it was said the Netherlands had lost its innocence.


    The Netherlands is home to nearly one million Muslims

    By comparison, film maker Theo van Gogh's murder has evoked sensations of déjà vu, rather than disbelief. But that does not mean the fall-out will be any less serious.

    In 2002, the revelation that Pim Fortuyn's killer was a very Dutch environmental activist, and not a Muslim, had a sobering effect on the angry mobs who were ready to go on the rampage, torch in hand.

    But this time, there were eyewitness descriptions of the murderer's traditional Moroccan jallaba.

    And then there was the manner in which Van Gogh was killed: his throat was reportedly cut, bringing to mind the words of an angry Muslim only a few months ago that people like Van Gogh who blasphemed against Islam should be "slaughtered like pigs".

    Racial tension

    "Today is the day I became a racist," was one of the typical reactions that appeared on Dutch websites on Tuesday, even before it had been officially confirmed that the killer was of Moroccan descent.


    Van Gogh had received death threats over his film Submission

    Other reactions were more extreme, calling for Hitler to be brought back from the grave or for all "foreigners" to be deported from the Netherlands at once.

    Meanwhile, several websites for Dutch Moroccans were taken offline when people wrote in to express their approval of the killing.

    Dutch Muslim leaders such as Ayhan Tonca were quick to distance themselves from these extreme reactions, saying that even if they had found Van Gogh's films and newspaper columns blasphemous, Muslims "must strongly protest that this kind of assassination is not accepted by the Muslim community."

    A large number of Dutch Muslims were among the crowd protesting against the killing in Amsterdam's Dam Square on Tuesday, carrying banners with slogans such as "not in the name of my Islam".

    MPs under pressure

    The government, meanwhile, appeared eager not to repeat the mistakes the main political parties had made two years ago, when they were accused of downplaying the importance of what had happened.

    Jozias van Aartsen, leader of the Liberal VVD Party, was one of the first to suggest a link between the Dutch Moroccan arrested for the murder and "terrorism."


    Far-right protesters confronted police in The Hague

    "Democracy is in danger," was Mr Van Aartsen's unambiguous comment.

    And Rita Verdonk, the immigration minister whose tough policies have proved increasingly unpopular with the Dutch public, was one of the main speakers at the mass demonstration in Dam Square.

    Still, the politicians will have to defend themselves against accusations that they closed their eyes to the rise of Islamic fundamentalism.

    Backlash

    A close friend and colleague of Theo van Gogh, columnist Ebru Umar, said she did not think the government would act even now: "This is the Netherlands, nothing will happen."

    And Somali-born MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who worked with Van Gogh on his controversial film called Submission, said it was an "outright scandal" that the government had not offered him better protection.

    Fortuyn's assassination in 2002 triggered a fierce anti-government backlash and the left-wing Labour Party saw its vote almost halved in the elections that followed.

    This time, with a right-wing government in power, the sense of disillusionment is even stronger, as many people feel they are running out of non-violent alternatives.

    "Van Gogh may not have survived," warned the Dutch daily De Stem, "but his dedication to freedom of speech should survive, and you cannot defend that freedom with violence against a whole group". The daily De Volkskrant meanwhile said Muslims "will have to accept that, in a democracy, religion, too, is open to criticism - this applies to Islam no less than to Christianity". "Theo van Gogh in this respect always purposefully went to the limits of decency. Many have regularly had reason to feel hurt or offended by him. In a democracy, those who want to defend themselves against this can go to court. Any other curtailment of free speech is inadmissible," it commented.


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