Dutch Muslims commit to crackdown

9th November 2004, Comments 0 comments

9 November 2004 , AMSTERDAM — With pressure mounting on the Dutch Islamic community in the wake of arson attacks against various mosques and the murder of Theo van Gogh last week, plans were unveiled Tuesday to combat extremism on both sides.

9 November 2004

AMSTERDAM — With pressure mounting on the Dutch Islamic community in the wake of arson attacks against various mosques and the murder of Theo van Gogh last week, plans were unveiled Tuesday to combat extremism on both sides.

Muslim organisations will actively search out radicalism in their mosques in a bid to stamp it out and, on the initiative of Islamic lobby group CMO, they will be given a strategy book instructing them what to do to combat extremism.

The book will make it easier for imams — many of whom are said to have difficulty with the Dutch language and contacting police in times of need — to recognise radical Muslims and inform the appropriate authorities, RTL News reported.

But the CMO said the strategy book will also be applicable both in the case of extremist actions committed against mosques and the radicalisation of Muslims. Immigration and Integration Minister Rita Verdonk has backed the scheme.

The announcement came as Verdonk said the Cabinet would not permanently guard Islamic buildings in the Netherlands because there were not enough officers to do so. Justice authorities also remained tight-lipped about the investigation into the bombing of an Islamic primary school in Eindhoven.

Some 25 police, justice and intelligence officers are investigating the Monday morning bombing, which severely damaged the school entrance and shattered windows in nearby homes. No one was injured in the blast.

Police suspect the bombing was a direct retaliation to the murder last week of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh. The alleged killer, 26-year-old Mohammed B., has been linked to Islamic extremism in media reports.

Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende said the bombing was "abhorrent", claiming that the atmosphere of violence must be stopped. He also said inter-community discussions must be stimulated and that police and justice officials will respond when the borders of tolerance are breached.

The Centre of Information and Documentation Israel (CIDI) also condemned the attack against the school. CIDI director Ronny Naftaniël wrote to Islamic lobby group CMO, informing that it was alarmed by the arson attacks and said it will continue to work for a good relationship between Jews and Muslims.

Education union Algemene Onderwijsbond has also offered its support to the Tarieq Ibnoe Ziyad school, asserting that the Netherlands should never bow to terrorism.

The populist LPF political party also said it regretted the attack. The party said the "neglect of the maintenance of law and order" must be addressed.

It is not yet exactly known when the 200 pupils will be allowed to return to Eindhoven school, but they might be allowed to return on Wednesday or Thursday. No lessons have taken place so far this week.

Parents have reacted with strong emotions to the bombing, but Eindhoven Mayor Alexander Sakkers has urged everyone involved to support each other. He has also said the bombing was the work of "idiots".

The police are now permanently guarding Islamic buildings in Eindhoven, including several mosques. Other buildings are kept under watch by passing police patrols, as are mosques in Utrecht where an arson attack was committed at a mosque last week.

There were also arson attacks against mosques in Huizen in North Holland, Breda and Rotterdam over the weekend, but the damage in all cases was very minor. Police arrested three people in Huizen and Almere in connection with the Huizen arson attack.

Police are also investigating two weekend incidents at Groningen mosques. Unknown culprits tried to use a Molotov cocktail to start a fire at one mosque, while a second was daubed in statements linked to the death of Van Gogh.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news

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