Remkes survives no-confidence motion

12th November 2004, Comments 0 comments

12 November 2004 , AMSTERDAM — Dutch interior minister John Remkes has survived a no-confidence motion in Parliament over the government’s handling of events surrounding the murder of Theo van Gogh.

12 November 2004

AMSTERDAM — Dutch interior minister John Remkes has survived a no-confidence motion in Parliament over the government’s handling of events surrounding the murder of Theo van Gogh.

Independent conservative MP Geert Wilders claimed Remkes — whose ministry is responsible for police and the AIVD security service — had made "great mistakes" in the fight against terrorism, public news service NOS reported.

Wilders lodged a motion of no confidence — but MPs failed to back it.

The minister's own party, the Liberal VVD — which had been highly critical of Remkes for his alleged indecision in combating Muslim extremism — refused to dump him.

The debate focused on why Van Gogh’s suspected killer, 26-year-old Dutch-Moroccan Mohammed B., had not been kept under surveillance and why Van Gogh was not placed under security.

But an initially confused and uncertain Remkes dismissed the criticism, asserting the police operation in The Hague on Wednesday — in which two terror suspects were arrested after a 14-hour standoff — was evidence of his decisiveness. 

He also said there were no direct signals that the suspected killer of Van Gogh — who allegedly become radicalised over a two-year period — would turn to terrorism.

VVD parliamentary leader Jozias van Aartsen disagreed and said it was a mistake not to place Mohammed B. under intensified surveillance.

"The attacks against Van Gogh touched the heart of our identity, the freedom of expression. The murder is a product of international Jihad. It is political violence," he said.

For his part, Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner said an impression must not be allowed to be created which indicates police and the AIVD are not performing adequately.

"The suggestion of blundering services is unjust," the Christian Democrat CDA minister said.

Donner also pointed out that terrorist attacks had been prevented and that a large number of suspected extremists had been arrested. He said there were no errors made when it was decided not to place protection officers around Van Gogh, who had also refused security.

Van Gogh made the short film Submission — which raises concern about domestic violence in the Islamic community — with MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Despite threats against him, Van Gogh had refused protection and was briefly placed under security on only two occasions.

Meanwhile, MPs backed plans to expand the AIVD, increase the number of people and objects under security, the closure of radical mosques and the deportation of extremist imams. The cabinet is also planning to take the Dutch nationality off people with dual nationalities convicted of violent crimes.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news

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