Members of Dutch “Hofstad Group” Should Face 17 Years in Prison

November 3 2010

Seven young men accused of being members of members of the so-called ‘Hofstad (capital city) group’ face retrial on accusations of being members of a terrorist organization. The seven are part of a loose grouping of of young Muslims said to include Mohammed Bouyeri who murdered film maker Theo van Gogh in 2004. Since initially being found not guilty of participation in a terrorist organization in 2008, the Dutch high court has ruled that the definitions for the ‘existence and structure of a criminal or terrorist organization’ were too strict and ordered a retrial. Public prosecution suggested this week that the men should face up to 17 years in prison.

Hofstad Group Retrial Starts in Amsterdam

ANP reports that seven men accused of being members of the “Hofstad” terrorist group will go on trial again on Friday, in Amsterdam. The retrial was ordered by the Dutch high court in February after the men were found not guilty on charges as a terrorist organization. The Hofstad (‘capital city’) group, so named for its location in the Hague, is said to include Mohammed Bouyeri, who murdered filmmaker Theo van Gogh in 2004.

Van Gogh Murderer Has No Regrets

According to a letter obtained by newspaper AD, Mohammed Bouyeri has no regrets about his murder of filmmaker Theo van Gogh. The murder occurred six years ago in
Amsterdam. Bouyeri is currently serving a life sentence for the killing and reportedly wrote in the letter that he has not regretted his actions, “not one second in all these
years”.

US interest in Dutch anti-terrorism measures

During a visit to America, Dutch Justice Minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin met with Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano to discuss the ways the Netherlands deals with ‘local terrorists’, such as Mohammed Bouyeri. Trouw reports that the American were particularly interested in the ways national security services in the Netherlands work.

Netherlands marks five years since Theo van Gogh’s murder

This week marks five years since the murder of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh. Van Gogh was killed on an Amsterdam streetcorner in 2004 by Mohammad B., a Muslim of Dutch Moroccan origin, in retaliation for his film Submission.

The city organized a tour for journalists of the Slotervaart neighborhood in which Mohammad B. grew up. During the tour, the borough chairman, Moroccan-Dutch youth workers, mosque representatives, and integration experts presented material “aimed at connecting different ethnic groups in the city” to prevent over-simplified stories from making international headlines, NRC Handelsblad reports.

Media outlets marked the occasion with a series of commentaries and interviews. Radio Netherlands Worldwide noted the anniversary with an evaluation of the “debate on the influence of Islam on Dutch society” which the incident generated, noting that “it is a debate between indigenous Dutch in which Muslims hardly participate. The fierce criticism of Islam does not tempt them to respond.”

RNW also published a commentary likening van Gogh to populist right wing politician Geert Wilders. Het Parool published an interview with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, with whom van Gogh made Submission. Ali commented that, “after the murder it became clear that there was a very nasty confrontation between Islam and the ethnic [white] population.”

IslamOnline.net covered Holland’s attempts to “grapple with immigration” on the occasion, highlighting developments since van Gogh’s murder including Amsterdam’s “emergency plan” to fight extremism through immigrant subsidies and dialogue building with mosques, the “hardening” of debate through right wing political figures such as Wilders, and the election of Rotterdam’s Muslim mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb.

Man shot dead attacking Amsterdam police had mental problems, possible terrorism link

A man shot dead by Amsterdam police after he stabbed two officers had a history of mental problems, and had at one point been interrogated as a witness in a terrorism case, the city’s district attorney said Monday. The man who was shot dead Sunday was identified as 22-year-old Bilal B., a Dutch man of Moroccan descent, District Attorney Leo de Wit said Monday. He said the man, who had been in a psychiatric hospital as recently as Sunday morning, was an associate of the “Hofstad Group” – a group of radical Dutch Muslims that includes Mohammed Bouyeri, serving a life sentence for the 2004 murder of filmmaker Theo van Gogh. In 2005 “Bilal B. had contacts with members of the Hofstad group, and there were discussion about that” with the Dutch secret service, De Wit told reporters at a news conference together with the mayor and chief of police.

Mosque Life in Amsterdam

{This article explains how mosque life in Amsterdam has normalized after a period of heightened scrutiny following the assassination of provocative filmmaker Theo Van Gogh. For more information about the 2004 assassination of Van Gogh and Dutch security policies, see the [Netherlands country profile.->http://www.euro-islam.info/spip/article.php3?id_article=294]} Original Title: “Amsterdam’s soft approach to jihadists” By Simon Kuper El-Tawheed mosque could only be in Amsterdam. Across the street is a coffee shop serving soft drugs. The facade of a house a few doors down is painted with naked female figures. And while some women passing the mosque wear veils, others cycle by in T-shirts. El-Tawheed mosque became notorious in 2004 when Mohammed Bouyeri, a young man who had prayed there, murdered the Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh. Mr Bouyeri’s friend Samir Azzouz, now serving eight years in jail for planning terrorist attacks, also prayed at El-Tawheed. The murder of Van Gogh, who had made a film attacking Islam, has been called the Dutch September 11…