Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Regarding "Murder fuels fears among Dutch", IHT, November 8, 2004: The association being made constantly between the murder of Pim Fortuyn and Theo van Gogh is wrong. While the victims had some things in common, especially their views concerning Islam and the position of Muslims within Dutch society, the murderers ( in the Van Gogh murder case we are technically still talking about a suspect ) did not. Volkert van der Graaf, Fortuyn's murderer, was an 'ethnic Dutch' militant environmentalist who according to what we know acted on his own, and was not motivated by strictly religious fanaticism. His goal - in which he succeeded - was to stop the rightwing politician from becoming a considerable force in Dutch politics. Mohammed Bouyeri, on the other hand, was the son of Moroccan immigrants, who - apparently driven by blind religious hatred and feelings of alienation - killed the filmmaker-columnist mainly in order to punish him for his highly publicized opinions and to warn other Dutch enemies of ( Bouyeri's interpretation of ) Islam. It seems that Bouyeri was either actively assisted or at least supported and inspired by likeminded Dutch Muslim extremists, and other Dutch public figures were specifically threatened in the letter thet he left on Van Gogh's dead body. Mohammed B.'s act formed part of an international phenomenon - Islamist terror - whereas Volkert van der G.'s did not.

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