15,000 attend special unity concert

21st November 2004, Comments 0 comments

2 November 2004, AMSTERDAM — 15,000 people attending a mini-festival in Amsterdam have demanded community solidarity in the wake of rising racial tensions following the van Gogh murder.

2 November 2004

AMSTERDAM — 15,000 people attending a mini-festival in Amsterdam have demanded community solidarity in the wake of rising racial tensions following the van Gogh murder.

Major Dutch pop acts came up with the idea of the Stay Close! concert in the wake of the murder of filmmaker Theo van Gogh in Amsterdam on 2 November. All performers emphasised at the Sunday concert that the people of Amsterdam, regardless of their colour, religion or race, have to remain close by each other.

At least 20 mosques and churches around the Netherlands have been targeted by arsonists in tit-for-tat attacks since Van Gogh's assassination. He was an outspoken critic of Islam and a Muslim man, 26, has been arrested for his murder.

A note pinned to Van Gogh's body with a knife  warned that MPs Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Geert Wilders, as well as MP Jozias van Aartsen, the leader of the parliamentary faction of the Liberal Party (VVD), would be killed next if they did not stop criticising Islam.

The artists taking part in the two-hour concert included Marmoucha dakka, Ali B., Blof, Lange Frans and Kane.

The audience was a good representation of Amsterdam's 170 nationalities. People of all ages and colour crowded together in the city's Museumplein on a cold and wet  afternoon to enjoy the music and support the call for harmony.

The event was hosted by Dolf Jansen and Howard Komproe, who expressed surprise at some of the reactions to the killing. Referring to deputy prime minister Gerrit Zalm's "declaration of war" on extremists, Komproe asked: "We are still talking about the sober and common sense Dutch? I haven't witnessed much of this in the last few weeks." 

The concert was opened by drummer Marmoucha dakka, followed by rapper Ali B. who told the crowd that various Dutch artists had formed a "front" against intolerance. 

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news

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