Polemics by Henryk M. Broder: How a Film Triggered a Global Panic

It is the kind of stunt that has many fearing the worst: Dutch right-wing populist Geert Wilders plans to release a film about Islam. Politicians worldwide are already trying to stop the project, before a single scene has been shown. Critics fear the film could lead to bloodshed in many countries. Let us summarize what has happened to date. On Nov. 2, 2004, an Islamic fundamentalist murdered Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh, a descendant of the painter Vincent van Gogh, in broad daylight on a street in Amsterdam. The killer, a 26-year-old Dutch citizen, the son of Moroccan immigrants, shot the filmmaker at 9 a.m. as van Gogh was riding his bicycle. He then slit his throat and, using a knife, pinned a note to his victim’s chest, claiming responsibility and explaining his motives. The killer’s true target was politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali. But she, unlike van Gogh, was under 24-hour police protection. The bloody act was also a declaration of war against Dutch society, which, as the murderer was convinced, was controlled “by the Jews.”

Van Gogh Redux? Another Anti-Koran Film Stirs Up Holland

Deja vu in Holland: A Dutch politician plans to release a film that rips the Koran for promoting violence and intolerance. Politicians and Muslim leaders alike are afraid of a repeat of 2004, when filmmaker Theo van Gogh was murdered on the streets of Amsterdam. A Dutch politician’s plan to release a film that charges the Koran with promoting violence and intolerance has sparked controversy in the Netherlands. Government officials are distancing themselves from the project and stepping up security at home and at embassies abroad, while Muslim leaders fear that it could strain relations between the Dutch and their large Muslim immigrant population. Patrick McGroarty reports.

Islamist comments by German-Turkish Hip Hop Star?

The German-Turkish singer Muhabbet, who recently had a lot of press coverage because of its hip hop performance jointly with the German foreign minister, is confronted by sharp critics. He is supposed to have justified the murder of the Islam critic Theo van Gogh. Muhabbet is a prominent symbol of integration. But pop and politics do not necessarily fit together. Iris Alanyali reports.

Dutch Moroccan shot by police linked to ‘terror’ group: police

A mentally unstable man shot dead by police in Amsterdam after he knifed two officers had ties to the extremist group involved in the murder of Dutch film-maker Theo Van Gogh, police said Monday. Bilal B., a 22-year old Dutch citizen of Moroccan descent, was “interviewed as a witness after the arrest of members connected with the ‘Hofstad Group’ on October 14, 2005” officer Leo de Wit told a press conference. At the time seven people were arrested on suspicion of preparing attacks against Dutch government buildings. According to police, the seven were in close contact with the Hofstad Group, a previously dismantled “terror network”…

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.

Van Gogh monument vandalised

AMSTERDAM (ANP) – The monument to Theo van Gogh in the Oosterpark in Amsterdam was vandalised last week. ‘Al Qaeda’ was written on the statue in black letters, the police said on Saturday. The date ’27-11-2007′ was also written on the monument in black marker. It is still unknown who is responsible for the deed. The statue De Schreeuw (The Screen) is on the edge of the Oosterpark, close to where Van Gogh was murdered by an Islamic fundamentalist on 2 November 2004. The monument was unveiled in March this year.

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…

Harsh reality dominates non-fiction prize shortlist

This year’s non-fiction prize shortlist features two books related to U.S. military intervention in Iraq and one study of an Islamist extremist murder in Holland Ian Buruma’s Murder in Amsterdam is about the killing of the provocative columnist and filmmaker Theo van Gogh by the son of Moroccan immigrants who was angry because he had collaborated with an anti-Islamic politician. These books edged out other promising biographies-presumably they were favored given the political nature of these times.

Muslim Women Glad Hirsi Ali Left Netherlands

For three years Somali-born Ayaan Hirsi Ali galvanised Dutch society with a frank account of her traumatic past and her conviction that Islam is a violent, misogynous religion. That conviction led to death threats, the murder of her associate, filmmaker Theo van Gogh and, her critics say, the alienation of precisely those she aimed to engage as relations between Muslims and non-Muslims deteriorated as never before. Now almost a year since the former Dutch parliamentarian hit headlines worldwide for admitting she lied to gain asylum in the Netherlands, many of the Dutch-Muslim women Hirsi Ali sought to stir and inspire state bluntly they are relieved she is gone. The 37-year-old now works for a U.S. think-tank, while her international profile as an ex-Muslim critic of Islam soars. “I am glad that Ayaan Hirsi Ali is gone, because now the tone has softened, it has become less extreme and tensions have eased,” said Nermin Altintas, who runs an education centre for migrant women.

Dutch Minister Loses Party Leadership Vote

By TOBY STERLING AMSTERDAM, Netherlands — The Dutch immigration minister who set off a political firestorm by threatening to revoke the citizenship of a Somali-born lawmaker lost a party leadership contest Wednesday seen as a referendum on the country’s tough immigration policies. The hardline minister Rita Verdonk caused the political downfall of lawmaker Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the country’s most outspoken critic of fundamentalist Islam. Hirsi Ali became internationally known when Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh was murdered in November 2004 by a Muslim radical incensed by the short film “Submission,” a critique of the treatment of women under Islam which she wrote the script for. Verdonk was the front-runner in the contest to lead the free-market VVD party into elections next year until she threatened earlier this month to revoke Hirsi Ali’s passport. Hirsi Ali — also a member of the VVD — quit after Verdonk said her naturalization was invalid because she gave a false name when she moved to the Netherlands in 1992. Hirsi Ali, 36, has acknowledged her real name was Ayaan Hirsi Magan, and said she fabricated her name because she feared reprisals from her family after fleeing an arranged marriage. Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende conceded Wednesday that her resignation had damaged the Netherlands’ reputation as a haven of tolerance. “Everything that’s happened has brought negative publicity,” Balkenende said at a lunch with the Dutch foreign press association. “I read the international papers too, but the question is, will it have a lasting effect? I believe not.” Verdonk was defeated by the more moderate Mark Rutte in the party primary. She retains her cabinet post. Rutte won 51 percent of votes, while Verdonk got 46 percent, the party said. Many prominent members of the VVD, including EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes, shifted their support from Verdonk to Rutte after the Hirsi Ali affair. A former deputy prison warden, Verdonk built her reputation as a strict enforcer of the country’s immigration policies, among the toughest in Europe. Since taking office in 2003, Verdonk has ordered citizenship classes and tests for immigrants, raised visa fees by hundreds of dollars and began imprisoning rejected asylum-seekers before deporting them. As a result, immigration is half what it was in 2000. Verdonk, 50, had in the past benefited in the polls from decisions similar to the one on Hirsi Ali. She denied citizenship to an Ivory Coast-born soccer player Salomon Kalou, and deporting a young refugee from Kosovo just a month before she was due to graduate from Dutch high school. But after Hirsi Ali’s resignation, Verdonk was skewered in a 10-hour emergency debate in parliament, in which she was criticized by all sides for acting too hastily. Verdonk was forced to review Hirsi Ali’s case, and agree to reprocess her naturalization under her true name if necessary. Hirsi Ali continues to live in her apartment in The Hague under police protection because of threats to her life from radicals. She is unable to speak in public while her immigration case is under review and plans to move to the United States to join The American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank. Rutte, 39, will now stand in national elections next May, with an outside chance of becoming prime minister as leader of the country’s third-largest party.