Cabinet 'declares war' on Islamic extremism

5th November 2004, Comments 0 comments

5 November 2004 , AMSTERDAM — The Dutch Cabinet has declared war on Islamic extremism, Deputy Prime Minister Gerrit Zalm has announced. He justified the step by calling the murder of filmmaker Theo van Gogh an "attack on the rule of law".

5 November 2004

AMSTERDAM — The Dutch Cabinet has declared war on Islamic extremism, Deputy Prime Minister Gerrit Zalm has announced. He justified the step by calling the murder of filmmaker Theo van Gogh an "attack on the rule of law".

Zalm said on Friday that there had been new developments in the world of Islamic extremism in which religious thoughts were being "translated into murder and manslaughter". "This is something that we absolutely cannot tolerate," he said.

The Liberal Party (VVD) minister said the cabinet would therefore expand the Dutch intelligence service AIVD, requiring an increase in funding. Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner and Interior Minister John Remkes will provide further information to the Dutch Parliament next week.

The cabinet is also investigating whether existing legislation is sufficient to tackle radical Muslims who commit violent offences. Zalm referred to the investigation by Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk into the possibility of revoking the Dutch passports of violent offenders who hold dual nationality status.

Cabinet ministers also discussed on Friday the controversial El Tawheed mosque in Amsterdam, where the suspected killer of Van Gogh, 26-year-old Dutch Moroccan Mohammed B., regularly attended. No decision was taken about the mosque.

Furthermore, the government has said it will remain in contact with Muslim organisations in a joint bid to crackdown on extremists. Zalm also expects that these organisations will internally make it clear to members that radical actions are not approved of.

Amid fear of social tension, Amsterdam police have increased the number of patrols in city streets to watch for signs of any public disorder.

Minister Zalm stressed Friday that the Muslim community must not be judged on the actions of a "small radicalising group".

Zalm rejected speculation the government had fallen behind in the fight against Islamic extremism, pointing out that many people who had been threatened with death had not been killed. For example, adequate security precautions had been taken when MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali was believed to be at risk.

Known for her outspoken criticism of the Islamic faith, Hirsi Ali co-operated with Van Gogh in the making of the 10-minute film "Submission", which casts an accusing eye on domestic abuse in the Muslim community.

Van Gogh was shot and stabbed to death in Amsterdam on Tuesday and it is widely believed that he was murdered in reaction due to the broadcast of the film last August. The killer left a letter at Van Gogh's body with an Islamic religious message, warning that Hirsi Ali was next.

But despite the death threat levelled at Hirsi Ali, Zalm said he expects that she will be able to continue her public functions. But he also left the decision up to Hirsi Ali herself as to when the Liberal VVD MP will return to work.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news

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