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Anti-Muslim Dutch politicians in hiding after death threats

 
 
Reply Fri 5 Nov, 2004 09:33 am
Nimh, what's going on over there?

__________________________________________________________


Several leading Dutch politicians seen as critical of Islam have been threatened with death since the murder of a filmmaker, as the Dutch Government announced a crackdown on Islamic extremists.

Theo van Gogh, the great-great grandnephew of Vincent van Gogh, was shot and stabbed in a "ritual killing" in broad daylight in an Amsterdam street on Tuesday, with his throat slit to the vertebrae with a butchers knife, and a five-page letter stabbed to his chest with another knife.

It was the second murder of a public figure critical of Islam in the Netherlands, two-years after the anti-immigration populist Pym Fortuyn was shot by a left-wing activist.

Police announced today that they would prosecute under anti-terrorism laws van Gogh's suspected killer, a 26-year-old Dutch-born male of Moroccan ethnic origin named Mohammed B. It would make the killing the first recognised terrorist attack on Dutch soil.

Police have also arrested eight other Islamic radicals over the killing, and have connected it with the terrorist bombing in Casablanca.

Dutch leaders issued with the death threats since the murder include: Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali refugee and former Muslim who is a liberal member of the Dutch parliament and high-profile critic of Islam; Geert Wilders, a right-wing populist opposed to Turkey joining the EU; the Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk, and Job Cohen, the Mayor of Amsterdam.

Ms Hirsi Ali and Mr Wilders have both been taken to safe houses by Dutch police. Dutch newspapers reported that police are worried that the threats - by telephone calls and e-mails - were evidence of a co-ordinated attempt by Islamic radicals to target politicians seen as "enemies of Islam".

The police released the note pinned to Mr van Gogh's chest, which was written in Arab and Dutch with phrases from the Koran, addressed to Ms Hirsi Ali.

It complained that the Netherlands was controlled by Jews, and called for jihad (Holy War) against infidels, America, Europe, the Netherlands and Ms Hirsi Ali. It said: "Islam will be victorious through the blood of martyrs. Only the death will separate the truth from the lies."

It was addressed to Ms Hirshi Ali, declaring: "Since you stepped into the political arena in the Netherlands you have been constantly busy terrorising Muslims and Islam with your remarks. With your apostasy you have turned your back on truth and you are marching with the ranks of evil."

Piet Hein Donner, the Dutch Justice Minister, said of the letter: "It is worrying because it gives the impression that it is not the message of an individual, but a wider organisation."

The killing has worsened already tense community relations in the Netherlands, with 30 people arrested for inciting hatred against Muslims. An internet book of condolences for Mr van Gogh had to be closed down because it became filled with 5,000 messages of anti-Islamic abuse.

Ms Verdonk recently announced that the Government would introduce a law to strip Islamic radicals with dual nationality of their Dutch passports.

There are nearly a million Muslims in the Netherlands, mainly from Morroco and Turkey, and the majority maintain dual nationality.

She said that the law would be changed "so that when a person is suspected of planning or involvement in extremism or serious crimes, we will take away their Dutch passport." Under separate proposals, imams will be required to teach about Dutch values in mosques.

Ms Verdonk said that the Netherlands had been "naïve" in failing to deal with deep divisions in Dutch society. "For too long we have said we had a multi-cultural society and everyone would simply find each other. We were too naïve in thinking people would exist in society together," she said.

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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Nov, 2004 06:43 pm
Ah, someone heard, good. It's terrible. I posted the news here in my Netherlands thread, but noone picked up on it.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Nov, 2004 06:47 pm
It happened on the day of the US elections - some people considered that a message, as in, "its not America thats gonna decide how things will go (here/in the world); it's us (the Jihad)". Someone else pointed out that the murder took place 911 days after 9/11, though I havent calculated if thats indeed true.

Its terrifying.

The perpetrator went to a controversial fundamentalist mosque in Amsterdam-West that Mohammed Atta is said to once have gotten a training at. Both national politicians and Moroccan "neighbourhood fathers" have demanded the mosque be closed down. The mosque claims the perpetrator never went there.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Nov, 2004 06:49 pm
I guess I'll just repost my post on the Netherlands thread here, consolidate it all in one thread .. this from Tuesday:

Quote:
Posted: Tue Nov 02, 2004 7:11 pm

New political murder shocks Holland

This morning, controversial filmmaker/TV personality/columnist Theo van Gogh was murdered on the street. Cycling in Amsterdam-East, he was overtaken by a 26-year old man who shot him. He still managed to escape, but reaching the other side of the street, the attacker shot him again, then stabbed him to death. The attacker was a Moroccan Dutchman, who left a letter in Arabic stabbed into Van Gogh's chest. He was arrested after a further firefight with the police, in which he was shot in his leg and a policeman was injured.

Van Gogh, who initially became famous with daring, explicit movies that reached both an art house and wider audience, the last few years attracted most attention by the many columns and TV appearances in which he warned against the danger of Islam and blasted muslims for being backward. For one of his last films, he worked with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the right-wing Somali politician who herself has often lambasted Islam and whose life has been threatened. The film, Submission, features the story of four abused women, shown in see-through versions of the burqa, with woman-unfriendly texts from the Quran calligraphed on their bodies.

Tonight, there will be a rally to protest Van Gogh's death "and defend free speech" at the Dam. It will be a "noiseprotest", and everyone is called on to make as much noise as possible. Downtown churches will all ring their bells.

Prime Minister Balkenende, who called Van Gogh a "striking personality and advocate of the free word" has reacted "with great horror". The queen is "shocked and aghast".

Fourty Muslims have published a collective statement in which they "completely condemn" the murder, which they called "an impermissible assault on the freedom of speech, the freedom of religion, the freedom that makes life for all of us possible in this country." Signatories include most prominent representatives of Islamic organisations and Muslim parliamentaries from the right-wing liberals, the Labour Party and the Green Left.

At the place of the murder, though, reporters found both Dutch commemorators and Dutch Moroccans expressing their anger and disapproval, but also Moroccan men who said that Van Gogh had brought it upon himself and had gone too far.

Theo van Gogh was supposed to take part in an event on the US elections in the Melkweg tonight (I'd wanted to go there). The event will still take place, "in sobre form"; it being sold out, however, the organisers have appealed people to not come or gather there tonight.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Nov, 2004 07:22 pm
Now I fully expected Van Gogh to get beaten up or something sooner or later ... serious. This was a guy, a TV personality and columnist, who took every opportunity to call all Muslims "goat fuc kers" and Allah a "pimp". You're gonna make people real mad with that after a while. But that he would be murdered - and in such a way; as someone said, the murderer (or should we say "executor") really saw it as a "ritual slaughter", and thats how he did it, too - first shot him, then when he tried to run away stabbed him, and slit his throat, like a sheep - then stabbed the letter into his chest. Its the most horrifying spectacle we've seen here in decades.

And though Van Gogh, a provocateur by nature, never missed a chance to insult Muslims, he was not just some populist xenophobe. He had two faces. He also made sensitive movies about and with minority youths; his last movie was an acclaimed assignment movie for a institution for criminal youths, a movie he made with the kids, showing a lively, nuanced portrait. He didnt hate foreigners; but he had no respect for religion, and least of all what he saw as the most primitive religion of today. His film with Hirsi Ali went out of its way to be offensive, yet at the same time was born out of idealism. If there is an afterlife and he can see from there now, he will see that he was right about warning of the danger of extremist Muslims; and he will also see the Muslim leaders who now stand up with the others and express their outrage at the murder, the Moroccan neighbourhood fathers who are among the first to demand the extremist "nests" to be removed.

NOTE - before I cause misunderstandings with the above paragraph - if Van Gogh had not made "sensitive movies about minority youth", the murder would still have been JUST THE SAME outrage. Its just that it adds another layer of tragedy.

Personally, I hated Van Gogh. Yes, he made good movies, but the way he went out of his way to spread hatred and be boorish and rude to entire population groups made me resent him. But it is also instantly clear what the greater danger is; loudmouths like Van Gogh or militant, ruthless zealotous murderers like Mohammed B. I was revulsed (in a fascinated kind of way) by Fortuyn too, but when he was murdered I went to Amsterdam to walk in the silent protest march. I'm glad they chose for a noisy protest march this time. Its clear what's got to be done now: isolate the extremists, rejoining with the moderate Muslims and do it together.
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Nov, 2004 07:39 pm
And another thread on same issue - with link to one in Film:

http://www.able2know.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=38251&highlight=
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Nov, 2004 08:38 pm
Wow dlowan, seems like we've each been talking on our very own thread.

Well, I already switched thread once, might as well stick here, there's three of us here now, more than in any of the others.

The story of the murderer, by the way, is a classic one. He grew up in an dilapitated council housing flat in one of the outerlying suburbs thats rapidly going down. He was described as long having been an intelligent, quiet, almost introverted guy; someone who was seen as one of the brighter lights in the neighbourhood, one of the few who went to college. One of his studies in college was social work, and he volunteered in the community centre. He was always very pious, would not serve alcohol in the commuinity centre, but was co-operative and serious.

The change in his life is described by all who knew him as when his mother died. After that, he went rapidly off, isolating himself from former friends and turning ever more dogmatic in his religion, starting to wear traditional Islamic religious clothes and a beard. His mosque expelled him both because of his radicalising views and a few run-ins with the police, and he is said to have then found 'refuge' in the above-mentioned extremist mosque. He left his father's house and is said to have been housed instead in several "through-houses" that serve as temporary shelters for militants on the move. He now isolated himself from his former community and absorbed into an extremist one.

Immediately after the murder the police raided several of these houses and arrested people. Apparently, some of these people and places had been known and followed for some time by our "FBI", which had also picked up news that "someone" famous(ly anti-Muslim) was going to be attacked.

(This is what there now is outrage about, as in: why didnt they do something about it then? Another part of the outrage is that Van Gogh, like Fortuyn back then, was not given police protection. In both cases there is the pesky question of both themselves having refused suggestions of protection, but it does raise questions. The current rules prescribe state-provided police protection only for public officials, which neither Fortuyn (who hadnt been elected anything yet) and Van Gogh (filmmaker, columnist) were - but thats the people who are now being targeted with violence.)
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Nov, 2004 08:49 pm
Just reading along, appreciating nimh's perspective, have read several news items about this and have also read most of the other threads. Learned about his death here, from HofT, as a throwaway line in the middle of something else, I wasn't sure if she was serious.

The first thing that comes to mind is a little askew, or at least not really on-topic, wondering what will happen to Salman Rushdie, as he settles into newly married life in New York and has seemed to shun the seclusion/ secrecy thing more and more...
0 Replies
 
Lash
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Nov, 2004 08:52 pm
He's been pretty safe in America.

Thought he must have relaxed considerably when I saw him in Brigit Jones' Diary.
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Nov, 2004 08:55 pm
Well, certainly nothing's happened. But nothing happened when he was in Britain, or when he went to visit India, or...

He's basically just fed up with living carefully, I think.
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Nov, 2004 10:44 pm
Extremism is odd, isn't it?

I mean, the folk who are sucked into cults are said to be not the pathetic ones, but often very bright and such.

I do not see that in fundamentalist christian groups - my experience with them is that they are very dim indeed - but my experience is also very limited.

I don't know any Islamic extremists - but many seem to have come from quite fortunate backgrounds.

I wonder what is the guiding factor for slipping into fundamentalism - political and religious - and from that platform into terrorism?

Mind you - lots of government agencies - like the CIA, KGB etc do things that are a form of terrorism - (though often very guided and targeted - not sure if that precludes the definition) - it seems many of us are content to let others do that work for us, as long as we don't have to be aware of it???

Like people do not want to know what war really means - and governments tend to not want us to know - hence the sanitised versions on CNN and such.

But - what allows to do such things our very own selves? This is a huge step. There seems to be little explanatory in your comments on this murderer, Nimh - unless you are also saying that these Moroccan folk are excluded from ordinary Dutch society?

I was hearing about the backgrounds of people who actually kill - and the source (I have not read it yet) was looking at convicted murderers - and saying they all have certain sorts of experiences (not sure what.)

I mean - not all extremists are terrorists or killers...
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Nov, 2004 10:49 pm
I was reading (apropos of his having been Moroccan) that Morocco is an Islamic country which has recently forged itself a very moderate and reasonable compromise in its laws between Islam and modern western values of personal liberty and such.

Can't remember where...
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Nov, 2004 11:48 pm
dlowan wrote:
I don't know any Islamic extremists - but many seem to have come from quite fortunate backgrounds.

Well, this one certainly didn't. Low-income, marginalised neighbourhood. The leaders may often be of fortunate background, the foot soldiers are often the opposite.

But there is an interesting thought there. From among the poor, the extremists often seem to recruit the brighter ones. Why, if one is the most intelligent kid in a bad place, would you join the extremists?

Perhaps because they are the only ones actively looking for talent in those places, recruiting it, "fostering" it, caring for 'em where the regular system fails.

And if you're intelligent but stuck in a place where noone seems to ever have a shot at making it, you'd be even more frustrated, if anything, than your more dimly witted neighbour - and thus more receptive to the militant call.

Just thinking aloud ... I still cant fathom how you go from all that to butchering someone for dogma's sake ...
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Nov, 2004 11:50 pm
dlowan wrote:
I was reading (apropos of his having been Moroccan) that Morocco is an Islamic country which has recently forged itself a very moderate and reasonable compromise in its laws between Islam and modern western values of personal liberty and such.

Yes, Morocco implemented a quite far-reaching (to the standard of Islamic countries) legal reform, this year or last year, notably including significant improvements in the rights for women.
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Nov, 2004 12:19 am
nimh wrote:
dlowan wrote:
I don't know any Islamic extremists - but many seem to have come from quite fortunate backgrounds.

Well, this one certainly didn't. Low-income, marginalised neighbourhood. The leaders may often be of fortunate background, the foot soldiers are often the opposite.

But there is an interesting thought there. From among the poor, the extremists often seem to recruit the brighter ones. Why, if one is the most intelligent kid in a bad place, would you join the extremists?

Perhaps because they are the only ones actively looking for talent in those places, recruiting it, "fostering" it, caring for 'em where the regular system fails.

And if you're intelligent but stuck in a place where noone seems to ever have a shot at making it, you'd be even more frustrated, if anything, than your more dimly witted neighbour - and thus more receptive to the militant call.

Just thinking aloud ... I still cant fathom how you go from all that to butchering someone for dogma's sake ...


I must get that book (it belongs to a friend).

I guess we can get folk in groups to butcher for dogma's (or most anything else's) sake - can't we? Just convince them there is a good cause of some kind, (Lebensraum, or fighting terrorism in Iraq, or some damn thing), or recruit sociopaths, and call them armies.

It seems to be harder to get to a point of one on one killing.

Heehee - a colleague of mine used to do the psychological testing for the Army here - screening for what, we used to say - people who want to kill? Well, she said - they are supposed to be PREPARED to - but it isn't good if they want to TOO much. But she admitted the screeening unstruments were a laugh.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Nov, 2004 10:37 am
This is quite ironic. Today's Volkskrant includes a report on how a NY Times reporter came to the Amsterdam suburb of Geuzenveld-Slotermeer to research a story on Mohammed B. and the murder of Theo van Gogh. The Volkskrant journalist follows the NYTimes reporter with the awe of a trainee observing a professional, but that aside. The NYTimes reporter has no trouble identifying the "fast-growing and explosive" problem: "the radicalisation of some groups within the Islam versus the traditionally so tolerant West-European society." Says the NYT reporter: "Of all places in Amsterdam, I think the most tolerant city of Europe, someone is murdered in such a brutal fashion. It is a shock [..] no, a local, Dutch problem this definitely is not."

But Craig Smith has a problem of his own. Theo van Gogh was so controversial because of his most explicit way of attacking what he saw as the Muslim danger (though he used the same vitriol against intellectuals, filmmakers he did not agree with, politicians of the wrong side and, lest we forget - back in the eighties when Islam had not distracted his attention yet - Jews.) He called the prophet Mohammed a pedophile, radical Muslim leader Abou Jahjah "the pimp of the prophet" and described Muslims/Moroccans in general as "goat-fuckers". And therein lies the problem. Smith needs to explain the backgrounds of this murder to the American readers, but "goat-fuckers, no that word I am absolutely not allowed to use. It's allowed in the Dutch media? Unbelievable. It is really unthinkable that we would say something like that about anyone in America on the radio or TV or in a newspaper. [..] Definitely not in the Times, it doesn't fit with the style of our paper. I really have to think about this still."

Interesting if you think about it: an American, scandalised about how, in this Western society, someone has been killed for saying something that ... err ... he would never have been allowed to say in the US in the first place ...
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Nov, 2004 02:49 pm
Sad about http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/3991547.stm

You know - it makes me think that the US did damn well in containing anti-Islamic feeling after September 11 (NImh - you will probably blast that out of the water with some damn fact or other!) - even here, we had threats against mosques and schools after Sept 11 - and nastiness directed towards women in Islamic dress.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Nov, 2004 03:15 pm
Quote:
Dutch step up Muslim protection
Police patrols are to be stepped up in a Netherlands city where tensions are high after a bomb at an Islamic school.
The mayor of Eindhoven has ordered extra security for mosques and schools following the blast on Monday, which severely damaged the school building.


Police said the bomb could be among a series of possible revenge attacks for the killing of film-maker Theo Van Gogh by a suspected Islamic radical.

Van Gogh is to be cremated in a public ceremony in Amsterdam on Tuesday.

Mosques in several Dutch cities have been the targets of vandalism and failed arson attempts since he was shot and stabbed last Tuesday.

Mayor of Eindhoven Alexander Sakkers said additional patrols would give round-the-clock protection for all Muslim places of worship and education in the city.

They include five mosques used by the 20,000 or so Muslims among Eindhoven's total population of 210,000.

The school bombing at 0230 GMT on Monday blew out its windows and doors, as well as those of neighbouring buildings, but no-one was hurt.

Attacks 'feared'

"Eindhoven is shocked, very shocked, by a cowardly deed in the middle of the night when normal citizens are sleeping," Mr Sakkers said.

Ayhan Tonca, chairman of the Contact Group for Muslims and Government, told Associated Press that the Muslim community feared further attacks.

He said: "We had seen a number of incidents of arson already but this was a full-scale bombing.

"We can only be grateful it was in the middle of the night and not when the children were at school."


Mr Tonca, whose organisation represents 300 mosques in the Netherlands, said some had already appointed their own guards during prayers.

He insisted the government must do more to protect Islamic sites to prevent security fears escalating.

Driss el Boujoufi, deputy head of the Ummon association for 90 Moroccan mosques in the Netherlands, told Agence France Presse surveillance had been heightened.

But, he warned, most of the 90 mosques did not have the means to ensure security around the clock.

A number of demonstrations are planned to coincide with Van Gogh's funeral.

Several men, all believed to be Islamic radicals, have been arrested in connection with the film-maker's death.
Source
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Nov, 2004 03:46 pm
I've had my head so deep into your politics, I havent gotten round much to reading our own newspapers. But today I made myself read all of Saturday's and today's newspaper. And holy cow! What a bewildering mix of opinions, events and takes, following van Gogh's murder. It's not that this country is divided into two after the murder of van Gogh; it's that it splintered into contrasts and confusions - or at least that's the impression I get.
My other impression is that my country is going mad. Once again.

(Note: I made a mistake when I relayed the theory about the murder having taken place 911 days after 9/11. It happened 911 days after the murder of Pim Fortuyn. No kidding.)

Let me pluck a bouquet of stuff so you can get a taste of whats going on here right now (edit: though I see that some of it has already been covered in Deb's and Walter's links).

"Murder start of holy war in the Netherlands"

The government declared that it considers the murder of van Gogh as the beginning of the holy Islamic war in the Netherlands. And as vice-PM Gerrit Zalm (VVD, conservative-liberal) stated, "We declare the war back". Strident language, though the measures he announced thus far are mostly of the increase-intelligence-funding, put-more-people-under-police-protection kind, apart from the proposal to take away the Dutch passport from criminals with a double nationality.

Former VVD leader Frits Bolkestein upped the ante by noting that "as someone who experienced the German occupation", he found it a sinister development that Muslims are becoming the largest population group in Holland's four biggest cities.

Geert Wilders, the VVD MP who split off/was thrown out of the party earlier this year and has zapped up to over 10% in one opinion poll after van Gogh's murder, proclaimed that Muslims should be excluded from constitutional rights, such as the freedom to found schools and associations of their own. His parliamentary Group's new programme, published today, denounces the "towering minarets in Rotterdam" as "imperialist", pleads for closing the borders in order to stop the "islamisation" of the Netherlands and for deporting any immigrant who doesn't integrate: "Either you adapt, or you clear off."

Burning mosques

The idea that a war has begun is underlined by a string of attacks this weekend on mosques. Mosques in Huizen, Breda and Rotterdam were targets of arsonists. People had tried to set a mosque in Utrecht on fire earlier. Mosques in Groningen and Ijsselstijn were attacked with molotov cocktails. And while I'm writing this, I see a news report come in about a bomb attack on an islamic school in Eindhoven: an "enormous explosion" at three AM last night that destroyed its entrance hall.

Conversely, highways around the Hague were closed on Friday night after a bomb alert at the American embassy. Two men were arrested for putting a video on the web in which they called for the beheading of Geert Wilders; reward: "paradise". Amsterdam city councillor Fatima Elatik is under protection after a burglary of her office was connected to the murder of Van Gogh.

Mainstream reaction has also been defiant. Two regional TV stations announced they would broadcast Van Gogh's controversial movie "Submission", the one that triggered the murder, the day of his funeral. VVD-leader Van Aartsen called for the deportation of radical imams.

"Politicians object to language of war"

In contrast, former Christian-Democrat PM Dries van Agt was not the only one who criticized Zalm for his "foolish" remark: "I strongly regret that the government has adopted the 'war on terror' terminology of the American president". "Will the cannons now be hauled out of the barracks?", Socialist leader Marijnissen asked rhetorically: "[The word "war"] suggests two peoples who fight each other on life or death. That doesn't bring a solution to the problems in the Netherlands any closer." Christian Union leader Rouvoet: "In a war a great deal is allowed that is otherwise strictly forbidden. We cannot give people the idea that suddenly everything goes to defeat the enemy." And who is this enemy?, he asks: "all Muslims, the extremists, all Moroccans?".

In fact, some, like Paul Schnabel of the Social Cultural Planning Office, emphasise that if we want the Moroccan community to take responsibility in these matters, we also have to respect that community: "Give them their own institute, let them build their mosques, don't make a fuss about head scarves. We are clamping down on things that aren't so important for us but are essential to them."

"The Moroccans are waging war against us"

Those who write letters to the editor have no such compunctions. One P. van den Brink from Utrecht writes: "Theo van Gogh was murdered; by a Moroccan. In Utrecht the swimming pool is terrorised; by Moroccans. My mother in law was robbed in Amsterdam; by Moroccans. In Utrecht, a family was pestered out of the neighbourhood; by Moroccans. [..] It's always Moroccans. [..] When does it finally get through? Government, courts, do something! There is a war going on by Moroccans against us. And without your help we will lose this war."

A sure-fire provocation of the anger among letter-writers was the overly cautious reaction of Rotterdam mayor Opstelten (curiously enough also VVD). When the artist who lived next door to a Rotterdam mosque, the night after the murder, painted a sign on the façade of his house that said "Thou shalt not kill", the mosque complained and the city authorities promptly had its men remove the painting again. Political parties in the Rotterdam council reacted furiously.

"No bullets but words"

The Moroccans themselves face their own divisions. Today's Volkskrant opens with a frontpage photo of a demonstration of Muslims in the Hague, with three elderly Muslims carrying a sign saying "Islam=Peace" - flowers, sun and a little bird included. Other signs said "Don't kill in my name" and "No bullets but words". That had been the slogan the city's imams had coined when they called on their congregations to go to the demonstration in their sermons last Friday. In Amsterdam, imams called the murder "a cowardly deed" and asserted that "Islam is not a religion of violence but of patience and understanding". Moroccan-Dutch rapper Ali B interrupted his show to call on his audience to join him in condemning the murder. And one Fatima Boutoutouh from Eindhoven asks her fellow Muslims in a letter to the editor:

"The reason why Theo van Gogh had so many 'supporters' among the Dutch was because he tries to say what a lot of other people should really be saying too, namely that there are certain things within the muslim experience that are simply not OK. For example the way gays are thought of, or that women are inferior [..] The Dutch will be thinking about this, the government will be thinking about this [..] But will the Moroccans or the Muslims sit around the table to think about what they can do to prevent this kind of thing [..]? Has it never occurred to us that we as a group have instigated this murder? Is it strange to think that the murder might not have been committed, if that person hadnt thought he had the Islamic community behind him?"

"Toadies and subsidy whores"

But these are not the only voices. Teachers around the country report, slightly alarmed, that Moroccan kids in their schools shrugged at the news and said without hesitation that Van Gogh had deserved it. And today, de Volkskrant features an interview with the editors of fundamentalist website elqalem.nl, who contemptuously speak of "toadies and subsidy whores" when they describe the older generation of immigrant Muslims, who "cowardly" joined the protests against the murder. The editors declared to be "deeply ashamed about [this] grotesque prostration by the first generation".

These are kids, mind you, who grew up here. Abbas (23), for example, had "had a good time" in Holland as a student of history: "the purple government [of the nineties] got along fine with minorities." But 9/11 changed his world view:

"Suddenly he realised that Muslims were done much harm in the world. He started to follow the media more critically. 'What strikes me is that they consistently write about Palestinian suicide attacks and Israeli retaliatary actions. We see it the other way round.' For the first time he saw things in terms of "us" and "them". He became confused, went looking for his roots and found Islam."

It wasn't easy: "The sermons in the mosque are in Arabic." Thus he found the As Sunnah mosque in The Hague (labeled "radical-fundamentalist" by the Dutch FBI): "They do a lot for the youth, their sermons are in Dutch and they preach the true Islam." Abbas is now a high school history teacher. His co-editor Jabri (20) works for the Ministry of Social Affairs. And they agree that their religion prescribes for practicing gays, if they are caught in the act "by four witnesses with beards and without sins", to be thrown off a tall building. "But only in Islamic countries, not in the Netherlands."

The multicultural institute Forum reiterated that it has been warning now for one and a half years about the "radicalisation of Muslim youth". Recruiters for the jihad come from Lybia, Mauretania and Algeria and snare ever more youngsters here, "often intelligent youths with a pre-university education, who are in an identity crisis and feel a strong involvement with the fate of their oppressed 'brethren' in Chechnya, Afghanistan, Iraq and Kashmir."
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Nov, 2004 03:55 pm
That is awful, Nimh - - I will be back later to look properly - after work.
0 Replies
 
 

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