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Anti-Muslim Dutch politicians in hiding after death threats

 
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Nov, 2004 04:34 pm
[<-- See previous post first -->]

Moving away from the current escalation and reflecting again on the murder of Theo van Gogh itself:

"They only burn Jews with sugar illness today"

Fellow columnists of van Gogh are torn, too - between solidarity with their assassinated colleague of the word and their prior revulsion with him as a person. Two out of three commentators seem to start their reaction to the murder with a, "I didn't much like him as a person or what he wrote, personally", before getting round to defend the cause of free speech.

No wonder. After all, notes writer-columnist Remco Campert, this is the man who targeted Jews before his attention was distracted by the Muslim danger - who cracked jokes about "how it smells like caramel here ... they must only burn Jews with sugar illness today". The man who, Bas van Kleef remembers, said that "if anyone deserves cancer, it's [then-Green Left leader] Paul Rosenmoller, the scoutmaster of politically correct Holland". Who in 1989 wrote that he "already looked forward to the day that we have to say goodbye to [TV personality] Henk van der Meyden when, as THEY tell me, the mercy of AIDS will finally, finally close Henk's tired eyes." The man who called an opponent a pig or compared him to Eichmann, who speculated that a Jewish critic must "have wet dreams about getting done by Mengele", and whose interpretation of being thought-provoking was, as he bragged afterwards, to greet Green Left MP Mohammed Rabbae with a "Allah is great, Allah is mighty, he has a cock of one meter eighty".

In short, not someone to all too easily identify with.

One of us or not quite a hero?

In the end, the chips fall both ways. Sylvain Ephimenco, for example, is strident:

"Yes: Theo was crude, intolerable, sometimes vulgar and almost always hurtful. Yes, of course I have cursed him in my columns, like he cursed me. [..] But Theo lived in Our House. His room was on the left at the end of the hall, right across from Campert's. It was noisy inside there, and it sometimes smelled of burnt prose. But I do not feel the need now to head-shakingly peer at the relict of his disorderly abode. Since Tuesday, all I see are the bloodstains on the walls. The impression that his lifeless body has left on the carpet. I realise more than ever that a warrior from the deep darkness has crept into Our House. And that this pimp, sent by a false prophet, to use Theo's terminology, has slaughtered one of us. Slaughtered him methodically and ruthlessly, with unfathomable hate and repulsive fanatism. [..] The droplet in which my mixed feelings could have floated, disappeared soon in the flood of my anger. [T]he more inhabitants want to detract from this assassination with their on the one hands and other hands, the less freedom there will be for us all."

But others are more ambiguous. Expressing scepticism at van Gogh's new "hero of free speech" status, several commentators point out that Van Gogh furiously demanded the right to say whatever he thought - but had no patience for those who tolerated the other side's scandalous statements. Van Kleef notes the irony of Amsterdam's mayor Job Cohen (van Gogh: "a national-socialist by nature"), observing at the protest meeting that he, too had been told off by van Gogh, but that "that is allowed in Holland". After all, it was this attitude of 'live and let live' of Cohen's that van Gogh had assaulted so indignantly.

And was van Gogh really such a selfless warrior for the oppressed? Michael Zeeman: "Say, you're a director and you are truly concerned about the fate of those abused [Muslim] women. 'To work', I'd think, make a documentary, talk with those women, inventarise injuries, interview an expert on the sharia, look up those abusive men, foot between the door and camera at the ready, count, compare. Opening night at the festival, broadcast on TV with a debate to follow, enough for a whole Sunday night. Ten to one that something will happen. But no. It could be done faster. [..] You can also wrap a woman in net curtains and make a breathless short film. [..] Of those abused women, I haven't heard anymore in months. But of the makers of the film I have. Every single day."

Stridency versus decency?

In fact, curiously, right alongside the immediate debate on the danger of Islamist violence, a smaller debate has popped up about "decency". Decency, writes Bas van Stokkum, "has the function to maintain peace. Its reticence is not 'undignified', as the proponents of the unfettered free word claim. Good manners allow for a constructive discourse." Van Gogh, he notes, "claimed that he considered a column only successful if readers would be offended. [But] expressing an opinion is something different from just scolding the daylights out of each other." Van Stokkum juxtaposes "the role of common decency" with the prevailing wisdom that "extreme opinions need to be heard", which he submits is "grist to the mill of [..] the poisonous chants of soccer supporters".

NRC Handelsblad columnist Herbert Blankesteijn is equally disinclined to celebrate van Gogh as an example: "Bull. Its not opinions we're talking about. Theo van Gogh called people names. He has been lovingly called 'provocateur' the last few days, but the way he stabbed into people with his words obviously was just beyond the pale. [..] With well-raised Dutchmen, scolding doesn't hurt [..] Van Gogh knew that his victims came from a place where scolding does hurt. So they'll just have to adapt? Yes, they will. [..] 'We', on the other hand, resolve to watch our words and not just always say what we think and do what we say*. If its not out of decency, then it'll have to be out of fear."

The Christian perspective

This chorus about intercultural sensitivities that need to be dealt with more cautiously is echoed in unexpected quarters: those of devout Christians. The Reformed Daily, for example, is the most staunchly Protestant newspaper here; it represents the "black-stocking Church" community, which doesn't sport on Sundays, votes for one of the two small Christian fundamentalist parties and considers the possession of a TV sinful - some 4% of the population. Its editor in chief sternly asserts the need to have respect for religion and concludes: "That's what van Gogh made a joke of. And it is incomprehensible that he was nevertheless still welcome in cultural circles. It is there that one should start reflecting on the question whether everything someone thinks should also be allowed to be said out loud."

In fact, when de Volkskrant polls reactions in the Protestant village of Katwijk, it finds people who say that the murder was "to be expected" - like Jacob, the filmmaker should have known that "the tongue can have a deathly venom". "The Lord is no idle observer", a man comments, "He has judged." Van Gogh has "reviled us Christians and Jesus himself too. But Muslims are more fanatic - that, our forefathers already knew when they fought them. They live by fire and sword."

Choosing a middle way in response to the attacks on mosques this weekend, the Amsterdam Council of Churches will declare its solidarity with the Muslim believers in the city in an advertisement that will appear in the city's Parool newspaper. Co-existence of people of many different nationalities and cultural and religious backgrounds demands "of each inhabitant respect and willingness to enter a dialogue", it will say.

And thus the circle is round: from ruthless Islamist extremists to arsonist xenophobes and firebrand right-wing populists, multicultural waverers and bible-thumping moralists. You see what I mean with a bewildering confusion of events, reactions and perspectives? What on earth will happen next?


--
* A play on Pim Fortuyn's political motto.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Nov, 2004 04:47 pm
Reading along with great interest.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Nov, 2004 08:57 pm
Hey, btw, where did McG go anyway? Dont think I've seen him much since the elections ..
0 Replies
 
Thok
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Nov, 2004 10:16 pm
nimh wrote:
Hey, btw, where did McG go anyway? Dont think I've seen him much since the elections ..


He posted few sicne this time, but is online now.
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Nov, 2004 03:21 pm
Funeral:

Dutch bid farewell to film maker

Van Gogh directed TV series and wrote newspaper columns
Hundreds of mourners have rallied in Amsterdam during the cremation service for Dutch film maker Theo van Gogh, who was murdered a week ago.
There has been heightened ethnic tension in the Netherlands since he was shot and stabbed to death - allegedly by an Islamic militant.

The ceremony at Amsterdam's Nieuwe Ooster crematorium was televised, but only friends and family were let in.

Van Gogh, 47, had made a controversial film critical of Islamic culture.

Intended to illustrate domestic violence in Muslim societies, it featured images of Koranic verses daubed on semi-naked women.

Several men, all believed to be Islamic radicals, have been arrested in connection with his death. The alleged killer is Mohammed Bouyeri, a 26-year-old Dutch-Moroccan.


Violence



Dutch views on Van Gogh's death


In pictures

"I fear for the future," said Van Gogh's mother, choking with emotion at the ceremony on Tuesday.


Only about 150 people were allowed to attend, but hundreds of mourners outside the crematorium watched the ceremony on giant screens. It was also broadcast on Dutch NOS public television.

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

The mayor of Eindhoven ordered extra security for mosques and schools following a bomb blast at an Islamic school which caused serious damage on Monday.

Police are also investigating two petrol bomb attacks on churches in Utrecht and Amersfoort, which caused minor damage early on Tuesday.


Muslim fears

Van Gogh was shot and stabbed to death as he cycled in broad daylight through an Amsterdam street.


Mourners watched the funeral on giant outdoor screens
Hundreds of people have left flowers, candles and notes at the spot where he died. They also left cactuses - a tribute to his prickly nature - and bottles of beer.

Several hundred Dutch-Moroccans rallied in a nearby park on Tuesday, many of them wearing orange T-shirts reading "We won't put up with extremism any more".

Muslim leaders say their communities fear further attacks.

After the pre-dawn explosion in Eindhoven, the southern city's mayor, Alexander Sakkers, said additional police patrols would give round-the-clock protection for all Muslim places of worship and education.

Ayhan Tonca, chairman of the Contact Group for Muslims and Government, has insisted that the government do more to protect Islamic sites, to stop fears rising.


Correspondents say that Van Gogh's killing and the violent response have shocked many in the Netherlands.

"The Netherlands is a nation where people ought to want to meet one another, where cultures meet each other," Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende said on Dutch television.

"The atmosphere that has arisen must disappear," he said.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/3994539.stm
0 Replies
 
JustWonders
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Nov, 2004 04:02 pm
You know what's really puzzling to me in all this is how silent the American artistic community has been. Maybe I'm wrong, but I'm a pretty good "searcher" and I could find nothing - absolutely nil - from the Hollywood group in particular.

This is a fellow screenwriter, after all. Surely they care that someone was killed for making a film depicting violence against women.

It makes me wonder.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Nov, 2004 04:12 pm
Ah, he's from overseas ... when's the last time any prominent American went out of his way to show his concern/involvement/sympathy for anything in Europe ... they probably havent even heard or taken notice ...
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Nov, 2004 04:20 pm
the BBC (quoted by dlowan) wrote:
There has been heightened ethnic tension in the Netherlands since he was shot and stabbed to death - allegedly by an Islamic militant.

"Allegedly"?

He stabbed a letter in Arabic calling for holy war into the man's chest!

You can also be too cautious.

Anyway, dont feel like doing an expansive update today ... suffice it to say that, after a weekend of arson attacks on mosques, last night saw two arson attacks at churches, here in Utrecht and in Rotterdam ... I guess the extremists wanna make it a soccer match or something, score 1-1. Meanwhile, the government has rejected a request of the association of mosques to provide police protection. Politician Geert Wilders has gone into hiding ... and in an opinion poll, 40% of the Dutch are said to hope that the climate will change so much that muslims won't feel at home here anymore. 23% is said to applaud it if people take the law into their own hands more often henceforth.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Nov, 2004 04:20 pm
For what it's worth, there was a review in the NYT or the New Yorker of the movie, which I remember reading and being intrigued by -- not a total non-entity here.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Nov, 2004 04:30 pm
nimh wrote:
last night saw two arson attacks at churches, here in Utrecht and in Rotterdam ... I guess the extremists wanna make it a soccer match or something, score 1-1.


Actually, according to reuters, two churches in Utrecht and Amersfort and two others in Rotterdam were slightly damaged, (They call it " tit-for-tat attacks".)

In Groningen, one of the towns where a mosque was attacked, a Muslim community leader was due to join Jewish elders at a demonstration against racism and anti-Semitism to mark the Nazi "Kristallnacht" attacks on Jews on November 9, 1938.
0 Replies
 
JustWonders
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Nov, 2004 05:46 pm
nimh wrote:
Ah, he's from overseas ... when's the last time any prominent American went out of his way to show his concern/involvement/sympathy for anything in Europe ... they probably havent even heard or taken notice ...


I can't believe they haven't heard and of course they take notice. What I really think is they're ignoring reality. Especially now, wouldn't it be difficult for them (Hollywood) to come to terms with the ugly truth that this is a war.

If this had been a pro-Palestinian filmmaker accidentally killed in an Israeli response to a suicide bomber, they'd be holding candle-lit vigils for heaven's sake. They've heard of him and they've heard exactly what happened to him. They're ignoring it....so far.

I just watched "Submission". Except for the opening and closing prayers in Arabic, the film is in English with Dutch subtitles. It's powerful, but not worth his life.

http://www.genoeg.nu/
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Nov, 2004 01:08 am
Another school for Muslims was burnt down last night, in Uden (the twin town of my town).

Seems, there has been quite some xenophobia under the blanket of tolerance, which was shown before.

I don't hope, anti-Muslim and anti-Christian violence will continue - or we might see similar things as happened a couple of years ago (late 70's), when a train was hijacked by South Molukken youngsters.

I really thaught, such was history. Crying or Very sad
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Nov, 2004 02:00 am
Aaaaargh. I believe xenophobia natural - and something we struggle against always.

Love and hugs to the Dutch and you guys, Walter!!!!!

We fight it too.
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Paaskynen
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Nov, 2004 02:29 am
I lived in the Netherlands for many years before moving back up here. I consider myself basically a refugee from the slow but certain deterioration of Dutch civil society.

It seems so that the roots of the problem lie in the politics of the seventies, when there was an atmosphere of everything goes and the legacy of the war meant that any criticism of any ethnic group was deemed racist and discriminatory and tolerance was deemed the ultimate Dutch trait. As a result no checks were put on immigration, no demands made of immigrants, people were totally free because it was believed that all would want to assimilate in the happy Dutch family.

What happened was that a relatively large scale migration came in from Turkey and North African countries, most notably Morocco. These people went to live in the poorer, cheaper neighbourhoods forming getthos were people would live basically like in their home countries without ever needing to speak Dutch except at school. Attempts to spread out the population were thwarted, because deemed discriminatory. At the same time as Mr Hinteler mentioned, the Dutch got their first example of how ghettos can create extremist rejection of society.

After the independence of Indonesia (1950) a large number of Indonesians migrated to the Netherlands and all were assimilated more or less without trouble in Dutch society despite the enormous difficulties the country faced after the War. All except one group, the Moluccan soldiers and their families who insisted on staying together as a group in camps. It was from this community that extremists came who in the 1970s committed several terrorist acts, mostly hijackings, for a totally irrealistic political agenda.

In the 1980s, when I lived and studied in the Netherlands, the results of the lax policies in the Netherlands were becoming obvious to the observer. The first time I realised "this is not my country" was when witnessing junks fighting in train stations and using heroine in public transport without anyone speaking out. Reports that youths "from Noth African origins" were responsible for a disproportionate amount of street crime were swept under the carpet, because deemed discriminatory. You realise that political correctness has gone too far when someone saying that certain immigrants are criminal is prosecuted for disciminating against people from other cultures while muslim youths shouting in the streets for the death of Salman Rushdie are tolerated.

A sub class was created, from parents with little or no education, who hardly spoke the language, who had never been made to learn it, or to study Dutch culture, customs and laws (except perhaps social security laws). Parents who, from their traditionalist peasant background, rejected the free and open Dutch society and discouraged their children from participating in it. It can be no surprise that the second generation did not do well at school and that the performance of schools with a large proportion on these children dropped, which led parents from other communities to remove their children from these schools aggravating the problem. I met several Dutch parents who had insisted for ideological reasons, at first, that their child go to a so-called "black" school, so as to benefit from contact with people from different cultures, etc. only to remove them later in shock after having been confronted with the knife carrying, woman-despising classmates of their kids. Women teaching in these schools had an awful job as you can imagine.

All these things were going on, but Dutch politics continued to ignore them and successfully kept it off the agenda by branding anyone who brought it up as discriminating against people from other cultures. Pim Fortuyn did not come out of the blue, but was the first to mobilise en masse the worries and discontent of a large part of the population who did not feel at home and safe anymore in the streets of their own towns. An end to the permissiveness towards the intolerant and anti-Dutch immigrants, forced language courses and integration schooling and an end to unchecked immigration of equally uneducated family members from the source countries was demanded. Quite reasonable policies that other European countries like Sweden had had in place for ages. Nonetheless, Fortuyn was painted black by the established parties (and the press) for being a populist and discriminating against people from other cultures.

The change in attitude that Fortuyn's success and death brought about were too little too late, but by that time I had long since moved back to my quiet outpost. I didn't feel like waiting for the mess that I expect to ensue.

So, those were my two cents about the origins of this problem.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Nov, 2004 02:41 am
Thanks, Paaskynen!

I fear that populist politicians may jump now on the bandwagons again ( Geert Wilders, says he will set up an anti-immigration party in the wake of Van Gogh's death)
But there is hope that the Dutch institutions (and the Dutch majority) remain resolutely committed to fair play (a Dutch court just barred the extradition of a Kurdish woman which the Dutch government supported).
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Nov, 2004 09:57 am
Thanks Paaskynen for your take.

Obviously it's true that the difference dlowan remarked upon earlier between the reaction to 9/11 in the US (a reaction mostly void of anti-Muslim violence) and that to the murder of van Gogh here (which is coming with all kinds of arson attacks against mosques and muslim schools), is due to how far back the problems go. To the enmity between large sectors of the Dutch and Moroccan/Muslim communities that has grown over the years, for many of the reasons you mention.

I have at least two sidenotes to your post though. One is on ghettoes. Yes, the four largest cities here are now (almost) in majority non-white/Dutch. But compared to France, Belgium or the UK (or the US for that matter), there is actually less of a ghettoisation here. Neighbourhoods within these cities remain relatively (in comparison to those other countries) more mixed.

Two - "forced language courses and integration schooling" had been put in place already before Fortuyn. So-called "inburgeringscursussen" were made obligatory to any new immigrant by the "purple" government of the nineties.

What Fortuyn added was the demand to force the "old" immigrants - those who settled here in the past - to do such courses after all as well. Not such a bad idea in principle, though many immigrants were also understandably offended, considering a great many of them do already speak Dutch.

He also wanted to close the borders to any new immigrants, a measure which would have affected mostly asylum-seekers and family reunificators, which are basically the only two ways left to get into this country. Family reunification now is allowed when it comes to bringing your bride/groom here or your children (if they are under 18, if they're over 18 they can't come). The problem signalled by many is that immigrants get "equally uneducated" spouses from their home country, perpetuating the problem.

Of course, the other side of the coin is that proposed (and partially already implemented) measures to stop this also impose serious limits on the freedom to marry who you want. For example, you have to earn at least one-comma-something times the minimum wage and have a steady job contract now in order to be allowed to have your partner come over. And the newest measures proposed by the government include the obligation of your partner to first succesfully complete a Dutch language course in his/her home country at his/her own costs before being allowed to come over - which could be quite the obstacle if you're in, say, Kenya, where Dutch courses are not really widely available.

But apart from those sidenotes, I can't really contest anything you write. It is mostly true. When it comes to explaining the mutual enmity that has grown between parts of the Dutch and Moroccan/Muslim populations, this is definitely at least one half of the story.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Nov, 2004 10:08 am
In order to understand why the Moroccans are so angry, of course (not talking about the zealotry of an extremist like van Gogh's murderer, but in general), you'd also need the other half of the story though. A half that includes perpetual discrimination everywhere from the labour market to disco door policies, and relentless stigmatisation.

Especially the last five years, pretty much anyone and any politician can say the most awful things about Moroccans or Muslims on prime time TV, and it's all cheered on as "finally, they're speaking the truth!". Fortuyn has paved the way for a great many people who habitually call Muslims everything from "backward" to "goat fuc kers", and anyone who says something about it is laughed away as a representative of that "politically correct" "left Church", which is to blame for the problem in the first place and thus should just shut up for now. Vice versa, if a Moroccan rapper or an imam says something controversial, the media are all over it and politicians express grave concern.

This out-of-control outburst and imbalance is perhaps all too understandable considering the history you have just sketched - I have a few people in my family who grew up in old The Hague and now no longer feel at home there either, and are understandably resentful about that. But it is also understandably boosting anger and a sense of alienation among many immigrant youths. It is not for no reason that the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia singled out the Netherlands as a place for concern last year or so, signalling previous attacks on mosques and wide-spread hate speech.

We still don't have the entrenched racism of the Flemish Block-dominated Flanders here, it's true. Pim Fortuyn was hardly your average xenophobe - the people agitating against further immigration here do so in the name of the defence of liberal, secular tolerance (against Muslim narrow-mindedness), rather than in the name of the national, conservative traditional values hoisted on the shield by Le Pen in France or De Winter in Belgium. But in the post-Fortuyn era of "you've got to be able to say whatever you want about anyone", the anti-immigrant sentiments are expressed all the more loudly and, as the case of Van Gogh showed, coarsely. Thats the irony: the Flemish are considerably more xenophobic, but they're more "polite" about it - a cultural difference that has them aghast at all the stuff thats openly said here on TV and in the press.

Now in the wake of the past week's events, you see a small trend of commentators remark that yes, tolerance has gone too far in the Netherlands - but that that goes both ways. We've been too tolerant for runaway Moroccan youths, for criminal teens pestering law-abiding citizens out of their neighbourhood, for radical imams preaching against homosexuality. But perhaps also for the loud-mouthing that has dominated our public discourse since Fortuyn: this sense that the more loudly you yell at Muslims and immigrants, the more of a hero of free speech you are. For that in turn is replicated in every-day life in just as many instances of discrimination, hate speech and the occasional attack on asylum-seeker centres.

It's an odd coalition of some social-democrats and christians who appear to tentatively come together on this sense that it's been enough - enough with the loud-mouths and radicals on both sides. Time to get real and get in control of the situation again somewhat. Aside from the overriding, more acute alarm about the arrival of Jihadist fighters, tactics and rhetorics in our country.

Have to admit I kind of sympathise with that position at the moment.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Nov, 2004 09:38 pm
Another sad little update, in case anyone's interested ...

I'm going to bed, so I'll leave it at some of the headlines that came in my mail today from the [Christian] newspaper Trouw ...

Crisis atmosphere in Netherlands

Fear, sadness, despair and anger determined the mood yesterday in the Netherlands ...

Laakkwartier in grip of terror for one day

The Hague neighbourhood Laakkwartier was in the grip of a terrorist threat for fourteen hours yesterday. Four policemen were injured in a failed attempt to arrest suspects. Hundreds of apartments were evicted in precaution.

At a quarter to three in the morning the police tried to make arrests in an upstairs flat in the Antheunisstreet in the course of a terrorism inquest. According to the police the inhabitants threw a hand grenade. They also fired shots. There was an explosion at the door, possibly the result of a boobytrap. That was the start of a fourteen-hour siege of the apartment.

[..] At 4:30 PM the arresting team went inside and arrested two men, one of whom got injured in a shooting. [..] At the same time four suspects were arrested in Amsterdam, and one in Amersfoort.

The apartments date from before WW2, in a enighbourhood where there's been no urban renewal of significance. The flats contain small apartments, especially in the Antheunisstreet, where many unidentified subletters are housed.

The police kept the neighbourhood sealed off after the arrests as well, which meant the residents could not return to their houses last night either. [..] They were sheltered in the Hague College or with friends or family. Flight restrictions were announced for seven-kilometre zone, although not every pilot seemed to be impressed. Residents could also be seen now and then within the sealed area. [..]

Snipers could be seen on the flat roofs in the surroundings. There were many armored vehicles and ambulances, also on places far from the Antheunisstreet apartment. [..]

A brief fight erupted on the Lorentzplein, apparently between skinheads and minority youth.

Report: "We want to continue together"

UDEN - Most mothers wear a headscarf. They surround the Prime Minister, who left a parliamentary debate to personally talk with the teachers and parents who gather in bewilderment at the Bedirschool. The islamic primary school in Uden cannot be rebuilt after the fire of Monday night.

Government will clamp down on mosques more strictly

The government will clamp down on mosques who act in contradiction to public order more strictly. The public prosecutors will in such cases request the judge to close the mosque.

The sound of shattering glass in the Netherlands

The trail of arson attempts in mosques and islamic schools that is laid through the Netherlands since the murder of Theo van Gogh evokes a sense of deep shame and great anxiety. In Russia the TV news last night reported the latest news from our country under the headline "The Hague looks like the Northern Caucasus" A Danish newspaper compared the string of incidents against the islamic community with the Kristallnacht of 9 november 1938, when nazi gangs in Germany smashed the windows of jewish shops and synagogues and destroyed the interior.

Schools seek support with each other

Schools and churches should be what they always are: safe places in the neighbourhood. That schools and churches are now under fire - literally - is unacceptable. So says Ton Duijf, initiator of an advertisement that twenty education organisations today publish in the newspapers. It is an appeal to schools to support each other and to "fellow citizens to respect each other and each other's opinion."
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Nov, 2004 09:41 pm
Crisis atmosphere -- is that what you feel, too? What is the general mood when you just go about your daily life? IS there a general mood?
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Nov, 2004 09:54 pm
Havent got a clue. I have a week off, and I didnt get out of the house today at all.

Yesterday I called Stasia and briefed her about the latest news, and asked her what the conversations were like in the warehouse where she works (very multicultural). She said she didnt really know, but earlier on she'd been annoyed because here we are killing a celebrity, and yet all anyone wants to talk about with her is the election of George Bush.

I heard about the murder of Van Gogh in the teahouse around the corner, where the guy had turned on the radio to hear "if there were any riots". I noted how both of us (and later, the guy upstairs as well) were very cautious in proceeding with the conversation ... Van Gogh was very controversial, and so is the whole multicultural issue, society is very divided ... so you notice how both of you kinda hesitantly sound the other person out, where does he stand, what can/should I say, or not ...

Its all getting awfully close to home tho ... mosque here in town that was attacked is not far from Stasia's place, the neighbourhood in The Hague is one I always cycled through, not far from where family of mine used to live (still lives, actually) ...
0 Replies
 
 

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