T Nation

Terrorist Kills Dutch Filmmaker


This story has gotten lost in our election news, but I think it's pretty scary.

We are confronting an enemy trained to blend in to innocent civilian populations. We're confronting it in Iraq, and we don't even know the extent to which we are confronting it at home.

We need to discuss this, and decide how to handle it.


8 Arrested in Slaying Of Dutch Filmmaker

Associated Press
Thursday, November 4, 2004; Page A12

AMSTERDAM, Nov. 3 -- Dutch police have arrested eight suspected Muslim radicals as part of the investigation into the killing of an outspoken filmmaker, prosecutors said Wednesday.

The suspects were detained in the 24 hours after Theo van Gogh was killed as he bicycled down an Amsterdam street, according to the spokeswoman for the prosecution, Dop Kruimel. Six of the detainees are Moroccan, one is Algerian and the other has dual Spanish-Moroccan nationality, she said.

The suspected killer -- a 26-year-old Muslim with dual Moroccan-Dutch citizenship -- was arrested Tuesday after a shootout with police. He has not been identified.

Van Gogh, 47, a great grandnephew of the painter Vincent van Gogh, had received death threats after his recent film sharply criticized how women are treated under Islam. He was repeatedly shot and stabbed. "Don't do it. Don't do it. Have mercy. Have mercy!" the Algemeen Dagblad newspaper quoted Van Gogh as begging his killer.

Another Dutch newspaper, De Telegraaf, said the killer shot Van Gogh eight or nine times, then calmly slipped the weapon into the pocket of his beige raincoat before bending over Van Gogh and slitting his throat.

Piet Hein Donner, the Dutch justice minister, said the suspect "acted out of radical Islamic fundamentalist convictions" and said that he had contacts with a group that was under surveillance by the Dutch secret service.

The suspect is allegedly a friend of Samir Azzouz, an 18-year-old Muslim of Moroccan origin awaiting trial on charges of planning a terrorist attack against a nuclear reactor and Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport, NOS Dutch national television reported. Azzouz was part of a group arrested in October 2003 but released for lack of evidence. He was re-arrested in June.

Van Gogh, an award-winning filmmaker, television producer and newspaper columnist, once mocked a prominent Dutch Jew, referred to Jesus as "the rotten fish" of Nazareth and called a radical Muslim politician "Allah's pimp."

In August, he released the fictional film "Submission," about a Muslim woman who is beaten and sexually abused, drawing the ire of some Muslims and generating death threats against him.

About 20,000 people poured into Amsterdam's central square to protest the attack. Many blew horns and whistles and banged pots and pans. The government held late-night crisis meetings and the immigration minister met with Muslim groups to discuss how to avoid violent confrontations with the Muslim community.

Dutch Muslim groups condemned the killing and called for reconciliation, expressing fears of reprisals against Muslims. Several Muslim groups planned rallies in the Dutch capital to protest the attack.

Here's more from blogger Andrew Sullivan:


THE MURDERER OF VAN GOGH: No, I'm not letting go of this story. When a film-maker in a liberal Western country is shot, has his throat cut and then has a long manifesto pinned into his flesh with a knife in broad daylight, more people need to be concerned. Now it turns out that the murderer, who had completely blended into Dutch society, belonged to the same Islamist cult as Abu Musab al Zarqawi, the terrorist now at large in Iraq. The cult is called Takfir Wal Hijra. Here's a useful Dutch blog on the case.
Money quote:

"TIME wrote about Takfir Wal Hijra: 'Takfir wal Hijra is a sort of Islamic fascism.' However, even more interesting is the assertion that Takfir Wal Hijra apparently allows its members to appear non-radical, and even non-Islamic, if the mission requires it: 'The threat of Takfir is that its cold, heartless killers could easily be the boy or girl next door. Takfir Wal Hijra members are permitted to disregard the injunctions of Islamic law in order to blend into infidel societies. In other words, Takfirs can have sex with loose women, drink alcohol, eat pork and do whatever else they feel is appropriate to advance their mission.'"

That was also true of the murderers of 9/11. How conveeenient. The note - written in fluent, literate Dutch - is chilling. Here is part of its message.
Remember that it was pinned into someone's flesh with a knife, and also threatened another person, Dutch parliamentarian, Ayaan Hirsi Ali:

"I know for sure that you, Oh America will go under;
I know for sure that you, Oh Europe, will go under;
I know for sure that you, Oh Holland, will go under;
I know for sure that you, Oh Hirsi Ali, will go under;
I know for sure that you, Oh unbelieving fundamentalist, will go under."

What part of that do we not understand?


More on this story:


The murder of filmmaker Theo Van Gogh, who made a movie critical of the treatment of women in the Islamic faith, has touched off fear that Dutch politicians may also be targeted:

[Begin excerpt] "Dutch police now believe that the muder of film maker Theo van Gogh is part of a larger and coordinated action by radical Muslims to public figures that they feel are 'enemies of Islam.' As a result, Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Geert Wilders, two politicians critical of Muslims, have been taken to a safe house by Dutch police.

Death threats were made by terrorists against Ms. Hirsi Ali, a former Muslim from Somalia who has been critical of Islam and Mr. Wilders who is a vocal opponent of Turkey's proposed membership in the European Union. The threats were made via telephone calls and on a five page letter attached to van Gogh's body by a knife.

The note claimed that Holland was controlled by Jews and called for Muslims to make jihad or holy war against infidels such as the Neatherlands, the United States and specifically against Ms. Hirsi Ali. To her, it read, '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.'" [End excerpt]

We wrote about Ayaan Hirsi Ali here.
Ms. Hirsi Ali was in hiding for a time in 2002 after receiving death threats from radical Muslims. In January 2003, the BBC interviewed her; at that time, she had come out of hiding but was attended by bodyguards. What we wrote then bears repeating:

[Begin excerpt] "The [BBC] interview concludes with Ms. Hirsi Ali saying: "And I think that is also another horrible side of Islam - the fact that there is absolutely no toleration." Which prompted the following editorialising by the BBC:

    "Tolerance was a key issue for the Netherlands in 2002.

    "The murdered populist politician Pim Fortuyn, who was killed nine days before elections in May, also called Islam a backward religion.

    "He did not want to tolerate immigrants. His self-confessed assassin, an animal rights activist, could not stand his intolerance.

    "A cornerstone value of Dutch society, tolerance is bound to be central to the January election campaign."

It seems like the more central tolerance is, the more politicians get shot. Apparently Ms. Hirsi Ali's bodyguards are there to protect her from those who can't stand her intolerance. No indication, however, that the Muslims have to hire bodyguards to protect themselves from her. It's hard to say whether the BBC's correspondent is an intentional or unintentional ironist." [End excerpt]

In the immediate term, hiding Dutch politicians in safe houses to protect them from assassination is probably necessary. But we hope authorities in the Netherlands have figured out that they need to go on the offensive against the killers who want to terrorize their citizens into submission. Assuming, of course, that they have the means to do so.


This murder is so fucked up. Imagine, a filmmaker criticises muslims for violence towards their women (and let?s remember that it?s been a common practice in arabic countries to have harems) and he gets killed, if I remember correctly by BOTH stabbing and shooting...

This happened only a 2 hour flight distance from my country. In Sweden we?ve already seen "honor killings" by muslim fathers who didn?t like their daughters having a relationship with a native (Swedish) guy. They ended up killing their daughters themselves...

The koran is a beautiful book, but the idiots who misintepret it ruin it?s reputation. There is no HOLY WAR in islamic religion. It?s just a misintepretation of the koran.


If enough people -- or just enough dangerous people -- misinterpret it, it doesn't much matter what it actually says. At least not in terms of dealing with the problem.


See, it's high time to outlaw religious belief because of the direction it is taking us... :wink:


Jerry Pournelle SF writer:

"How many non-Westerners can you add to a Western society before it ceases to be a Western Society? How many people who don't understand the notions of rule of law and consent of the governed can you mix into a Western Society before it collapses? And why doesn't anyone seem to understand this? The usual epithet for even thinking about the subject is "racist" followed by the traditional accusations of fascism. And that's for discussing the subject..."


Damn good question!!




It depends on whether ou require assimiliation and strictly enforce the rule of law, irrespective of cultural sensitivities, or if you make concessions in the rule of law to be politically correct.

If you do the latter, you will find it's a much smaller number.


It is also an issue on whether these 'immigrants' are in fact colonists. Throughout Europe (and the UK) we are faced with an influx of people who hate our country and criticise our 'immoral' behaviour.

The trouble is, the minute someone mentions the potential problems that the importation of a foreign culture into a western nation, the term 'racist' is shouted by a ideological and tolerant westerner and any sensible course of action is prevented.

Forgive me for rambling, but the people who are protected by our forward thinking, freedom loving ways in the west are the very people who would seek to destroy it, as soon as they form the majority.

I wonder how many left leaning individuals will be murdered before some action is taken.


This is terrible. If at least this poor gentleman's death results in the mobilization of some additional international support in the war on terror, then at least his death will not have been in vain as far as I'm concerned.



"if you make concessions in the rule of law to be politically correct.

If you do the latter, you will find it's a much smaller number."

"The trouble is, the minute someone mentions the potential problems that the importation of a foreign culture into a western nation, the term 'racist' is shouted by a ideological and tolerant westerner and any sensible course of action is prevented.

Forgive me for rambling, but the people who are protected by our forward thinking, freedom loving ways in the west are the very people who would seek to destroy it, as soon as they form the majority.

I wonder how many left leaning individuals will be murdered before some action is taken."

Anyone not think political correctness will literally be the downfall of western civilization?




Some interesting thoughts from the Belgravia Dispatch weblog:


They Don't Get It Either (Part Deux)

Andrew Sullivan movingly sketches the events surrounding the odious murder of Dutch filmaker Theo van Gogh at the hands of fanatical Islamists. Yep, it's happening here and now and it's scary and real.

Cut to Brussels. Iyad Allawi, no great saint but, you know, Prime Minister of the Iraqi interim authority and someone up there in the global sweepstakes for recipient of the 'world's hardest job' award (not to mention, most dangerous; and throw in Arik, Vladimir, Bush, Abu Mazen, Musharraf and a few others into the sweepstakes too)--is coming to Brussels to try to get more support from the European Union. There is an important EU summit lunch for him scheduled today--and many EU grandees are in attendance. But, alas, not this one:


[Begint Telegraph excerpt] Jacques Chirac, the French president, has denied he snubbed the Iraqi interim prime minister by failing to attend a lunch hosted by Iyad Allawi in Brussels.

Jacques Chirac: 'I have no problem with meeting Iyad Allawi'
The French leader left early from a European Union meeting in Brussels, missing a scheduled lunch hosted by Mr Allawi.

M Chirac said he would be happy to meet the Iraqi leader at a more convenient time, before boarding his plane to the United Arab Emirates.

"I have absolutely no problem with meeting Mr Allawi if he wants to meet me," he said. "I am not snubbing him at all." [End Telegrahp excerpt]

Uh huh. Sure Chirac is not snubbing him "at all". Surtout pas! Except, of course, that he very much is snubbing Allawi (or is Mr. Chirac flying commercial to the UAE--and so needs to rush to the airport two hours ahead for check-in?)

Look, Allawi has ruffled feathers calling France and Germany "spectator" states--but, hey, why not call a spade a spade? Some protest that, just because a country didn't assist the U.S. militarily in Iraq doesn't mean they are merely spectating--they're providing monetary aid, after all. Of course. A more than fair point. Until, that is, you ponder the minimal amount of aid that the EU has put on tap to date.I mean, what has the EU coughed up in terms of real support to Iraq (as it mounts its big bid for multipolarity and playerdom on the global stage!)?


[Being NYT excerpt] The European Union pledged more than $21 million on Thursday to support the elections scheduled for January in Iraq.

The action, on the eve of a visit by Mr. Allawi, to seek help in rebuilding his country, provides 16.5 million euros, or more than $21 million, to help train up to 150 Iraqi election observers, pay for computer support and send European Union election experts to Baghdad.

The new cash brings to some 31.5 million euros, more than $40 million, the amount offered by the European Union to support election activities in Iraq, and to 320 million euros, or about $412 million, the total cash support it has provided to Iraq in 2003 and 2004. [End NYT excerpt]

Less than USD half a billion total support to Iraq by the EU to date for '03 and '04--a small to mid-size M&A deal on any given week in Manhattan. Speaks volumes, doesn't it? The word free-loading leaps to mind too. After all, whether you supported this war or not, the hard-core Fallujans are part and parcel of the crowd that bloodily pinned this message into the flesh of a hapless documentary film-maker in Holland:

[Excerpt on note from knife in Theo Van Gogh, per Berner's thread] I know for sure that you, Oh America will go under; I know for sure that you, Oh Europe, will go under; I know for sure that you, Oh Holland, will go under; I know for sure that you, Oh Hirsi Ali, will go under; I know for sure that you, Oh unbelieving fundamentalist, will go under. [End excerpt]

Oh, you will say--Bush made it worse because he went in! All was swell before! Only now is Iraq a mess! The terrorists are now revitalized, have a base--we bluntly banged on the bee-hive of Islamic terror--a messianic Dubya is imperiling us all! I don't buy this hyperbole, but that is a debate for another day. Today, after all, we know this: 1) parts of Iraq are under threat by radical fundamentalists, jihadists, and terrorists; and 2) Iyad Allawi is trying to stare them down with U.S. and U.K. support (in the main). Meanwhile, cowardly murderers that share the same basic world-view of the people Allawi is trying to face down are murdering people in the streets of Amsterdam (perpaps the icon of urban libertinism)--because they detest the rich fabric of liberal democracy with all its tolerance, myriad opinions, racuous debates.

Put simply, this is a grand ideological struggle with much at stake. But Mr. Chirac has a flight to catch! Tan pis!

P.S. The last words of Theo van Gogh were reportedly: "don't do it, have mercy!" ( http://www.zachtei.nl/2004/11/05/000422.html#reacties )I have no words, really. Except, however, that I'd like to point you to this Eric Alterman piece over at Altercation:


[Begin Alterman excerpt] We got well over a thousand e-mails in a matter of hours yesterday [re: Bush's win] and while I was moping around in my bathrobe looking at Left Bank real estate brochures, Paul peeked at every one of them. [End Alterman excerpt]

Not everyone is poring over the Left Bank real estate offerings, Mr. Alterman
http://www.zachtei.nl/2004/11/04/000408.html#reacties (scroll up from the link).


This is sad.

The Qu'ran is not a beautiful book in my opinion. It is filled with promises and threats of punishment for those who do not submit to the will of Allah as interpeted by Mohammad. I read it with an open mind and it is quite scary.

More violence will occur as long as religous teaching in Islam is controlled by the clerics. The Islamic religion must allow free thinking and evaluation. That will require education.

Islam as practiced in the West is peaceful. However that is not viewed as true Islam by the fundamentalists who have a stranglehold on the religion.

More of this will happen. I wonder how much happens in the Middle East that we do not hear about.



This is what I have been preaching to people ever since the war in Iraq started. We are so worried about getting the terrorist in the Middle East that we are not paying enough attention to the ones that are trained to live amoung us in the USA. All it takes is one phone call, e-mail or even a postal letter to signal the attack. We are at a very security weak time here in the USA, and if we don't do something quick, we'll be in trouble.


You can't even begin to comprehend. RLTW




I can that's what scares me!!

Stay safe.



WSJ Editorial Board weighs in:

The Van Gogh Murder
November 10, 2004; Page A16

Filmmaker Theo van Gogh was thinking of leaving his country, complaining that in today's Holland it was no longer possible to freely express one's opinion about religious matters. Sadly, he was proved right last week when a man with dual Moroccan-Dutch citizenship repeatedly shot and then almost decapitated Mr. van Gogh with a knife. Images of the beheadings of hostages by terrorists in Iraq come to mind -- only this was downtown Amsterdam, not Baghdad.

What probably triggered the murder was a short film Mr. van Gogh had recently made, depicting a fictional Muslim woman speaking about her forced marriage, rape by family members and beatings by her husband. The script was written by Ayan Hirsi Ali, a Somali woman who escaped a forced marriage herself and is now a member of the Dutch parliament.

"Don't do it. Don't do it. Have mercy!" were Mr. van Gogh's last words, according to witnesses. But the note the killer pinned to Mr. van Gogh's body said, "There will be no mercy for the wicked," adding that America, Europe and the Netherlands "will go down."

This note seems to have instilled real fear in Dutch society. Many Europeans, and not only in the Netherlands, liked to think of Islamic terrorism as an exclusively American or Israeli problem. The gravity of the fact that many of the 9/11 terrorists lived and studied in Europe, where they planned and organized that attack, never really sunk in. Somehow, at least on an unconscious level, Europeans thought this unholy symbiosis could continue, where terrorists would use Europe as a safe haven for attacks only outside Europe. The train bombings in Spain were widely seen as a reprisal against Spain's participation in the "American" Iraq war.

Partly motivated by an understandable desire not to inadvertently fuel xenophobia, Europe's elites have for too long played down the problems posed by radical elements within Europe's large Muslim community. Even as Muslim demonstrators called for the death of Jews right in the streets of Amsterdam, Paris and elsewhere, the public hardly took notice.

One might argue that this is the price a liberal society has to pay for its freedom: tolerance of the intolerable. But in Europe, tolerance is selective. Most countries have tough laws against hate speech and neo-Nazis are arrested for similar offenses. The police detained about 20 people in The Hague for chanting nationalist and anti-Muslim slurs after Mr. van Gogh's murder.

Of course, Muslims in Europe actually turning to terrorism are a tiny minority. But as Ms. Hirsi Ali said, Islamic terror can thrive there because "it is embedded in a big family of equal-minded Muslims." Dutch security services estimate that "only" about 5% of the country's Muslim community is "radical." Given that one million Muslims live in the country, that's about 50,000 people.

Europe's Muslim leaders are guilty of silence. Muslim groups in France organized thousands to protest the law against wearing headscarves in schools. No such demonstrations on a comparable scale have taken place in France, or elsewhere in the world for that matter, to condemn Islamic terror. Muslims who oppose terror and embrace liberal values have to stand up and be counted.

At the same time, Europe needs to stop rationalizing the irrational hatred that possesses Islamic terrorists. Islamic terror is not the result of some "failed integration policy" or of some real or imagined Muslim grievance supposedly caused by U.S. Middle East policy. It is fueled by a totalitarian ideology that seeks world domination and the subjugation of infidels and the West. The sooner Europe comes to terms with this truth the sooner it will begin to combat the fanaticism that claimed the life of Mr. van Gogh.


THis article tells about the measures the Dutch are considering -- I think increasing the penalties is a good thing. However, I think they need to enlist more mainstream Muslims to speak out against this. What I find the most surprising is how few mainstream Muslims are willing to publicly, loudly decry all of this terror.


Crackdown on radicals as Dutch mourn film maker
By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard and Joan Clement in Amsterdam
(Filed: 10/11/2004)

The Dutch government declared war on Islamic terrorists yesterday as mourners gathered in Amsterdam for the cremation of the murdered film-maker Theo van Gogh.

Jan Peter Balkenende, the Dutch prime minister, said the brutal killing of van Gogh last week by a Moroccan-Dutch terrorist was a grave assault on freedom of speech and Holland's tolerant way of life. He promised a relentless crackdown on extremist cells.

The immigration minister, Rita Verdonk, unveiled plans for a law allowing the deportation of Islamic radicals even if they are Dutch citizens.

She said the intention was "to take away their Dutch passports if a person is suspected of planning or being involved in extremism or serious crimes", adding that Holland would no longer be so "naive" in dealing with its enemies.

The cremation service was limited to family and close friends but hundreds outside the crematorium watched the service on giant screens.

The country's national television network, NOS, said the live broadcast was watched by more than a million viewers.

Van Gogh's mother, Anneke, called for her son's death "not to have been in vain".

She added: "Remember freedom is not granted to people who are frightened".

Van Gogh's father thanked friends and family for their support and his two sisters spoke about their brother's "enjoyment of life, love of people and aversion to violence and crimes against democracy".

Van Gogh, a fierce critic of Islam and the multicultural nostrums of the Dutch Left, was shot and stabbed as he cycled through the centre of Amsterdam last week.

The alleged killer, who studied computer science before being influenced by jihad videos, cut through van Gogh's neck with a butcher's knife then used the weapon to pin a letter in Dutch and Arabic on his chest.

The letter foretold "disaster" for Holland and contained an explicit threat to kill Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali refugee and Islamic apostate elected to the Dutch parliament.

Ms Hirsi Ali, now in hiding, co-produced an inflammatory film with van Gogh to draw attention to what they see as the oppression of women in Islam.

Released in August on Dutch television, Submission depicted an almost naked girl in a Muslim veil with passages of the Koran painted across her chest and thighs.

The Dutch press reported yesterday that the killer might be linked to a Syrian terrorist "mastermind", extradited last month to Germany. He was suspected of plotting terrorist attacks on the Dutch parliament and the Borssele nuclear reactor.

He also appears to have been a member of an Islamic "martyrs' brigade" known as al-Takfir wal Hijra.

Five other men with ties to Holland's radical Islamic underground are also being detained in connection with the murder.

A spate of reprisal attacks against mosques and Islamic centres appears to have targeted Muslim groups with militant ties. A Muslim school firebombed in Eindhoven was already under surveillance.

Sources within the Dutch AIVD intelligence services say there are big differences between the ethnic groups making up Holland's 900,000-strong Muslim community. Al-Qa'eda's appeals have little resonance among Turkish immigrants from Anatolia or North Africans of Berber extraction.

A network of 150 suspected terrorists under surveillance by the AIVD is largely Arabic-speaking.

A report by the intelligence services said al-Qa'eda was "stealthily taking root in Dutch society" by preying on alienated Dutch-born Muslim youths in mosques, cafes and prisons. Hikmat Mahawat Khan, the head of the Dutch Islamic organisation Ulamon, called upon

Dutch Muslims to resist provocation by anti-Islamic commentators and focus instead on putting their own house in order.

"Muslims need now more than anyone else to understand their religion, Islam, is being hijacked," he said.