Expatica news

Foreign press: Risk of ‘Nazi pogroms’

10 November 2004

AMSTERDAM — Amid growing public tension in the aftermath of the murder of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh, the Netherlands risks falling into a situation similar to the one that led to the Crystal Night in 1938 and the hardening of Jewish persecution by the Nazis, a Danish newspaper has warned.

This was the first time that riots against German Jews had been organised on such an extensive scale, accompanied by mass detention.

“We Europeans should have learned from history so that we can rise up in resistance against such beliefs,” the newspaper Politiken wrote in an editorial on Wednesday.

Spanish daily El Mundo also identified a spiralling of fanaticism in the Netherlands, referring to the murder of Van Gogh last week and attacks against mosques and Islamic schools, Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf reported.

The Spanish newspaper also said the situation was “very serious” because “the spiralling of action and reaction threatened to shift fanaticism in the middle of ‘civilised’ Europe to the heart of society”.
Van Gogh was shot and stabbed in Amsterdam on 2 November and a suspected Islamic militant has been arrested for the murder. Since then a series of mosques have been vandalised or have been the target of arson attacks.

An Islamic school in Eindhoven was bombed on Monday morning and a school in Uden was the target of a suspected arson attack on Tuesday night. The crimes are alleged to be in direct retaliation to the killing of Van Gogh, who was highly critical of Islam.

Meanwhile, British newspaper The Independent said the distorted social relationships in the Netherlands promises little hope for the rest of the continent. It noted with regret that public opinion in the Netherlands had shifted to the right and feared that the Dutch government will make the wrong choices.

The Dutch Cabinet’s “declaration of war” against Islamic extremism has already hit a sour note with opposition MPs. Furthermore, a survey by GPD regional newspapers indicates that 40 percent of Dutch people hope Muslims no longer feel welcome in the Netherlands.

The Independent said in the present crisis, Dutch people must do everything possible to defend the tradition of freedom of expression. But it warned that the public must not allow “institutionalised Islam hate”.

The New York-based magazine Newsday said in an editorial on Wednesday that the murder of Van Gogh is an eye-opening alarm signal for Europeans who have always thought that the threat of terror was a danger primarily directed at the US and Israel.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news