Islamic school fire 'a planned attack'

3rd March 2005, Comments 0 comments

3 March 2005, AMSTERDAM — The arson attack that destroyed the Islamic school in Uden last year was not, as the police claimed, a coincidental boyish prank.

3 March 2005

AMSTERDAM — The arson attack that destroyed the Islamic school in Uden last year was not, as the police claimed, a coincidental boyish prank.

The chief suspect in the attack, a 16-year-old student of a VMBO school in the town, told news programme Zembla the attack was planned by native Dutch boys.

The interview with the boy, identified only as B., is part of Zembla's broadcast "White power in Uden" broadcast on Thursday evening on Nederland 3 at 9.10pm.

The Muslim school in the town was burnt to the ground in November, seven days after the murder of filmmaker Theo van Gogh.

Mohammed B., 26, a Moroccan-Dutch Muslim, was arrested for the murder and his ongoing trial has been told that he wants to take full responsibly for his actions.

The Uden arson attack was one of several tit-for-tat attacks on Muslim and Christian properties that contributed significantly to the tension and polarisation between the native Dutch and Muslim communities in the aftermath of the killing.

Seven native Dutch boys, including B., were later arrested by the police for the Uden attack.

B. told Zembla: "A day after Theo van Gogh's murder we, with a group of boys, decided we had to attack the (local) mosque. We were going to fight, we were going to get them back".

This is the first time the 16-year-old student has spoken publicly about the arson attack.

B. claims the group initially wanted to burn the mosque. He made a detailed map of the mosque, including the escape routes they could use.

"We bought petrol and transferred it to a wine bottle, a piece of material into that and you have a Molotov-cocktail. We walked to the mosque and broke a window by throwing a stone," he said.

But the prayer hall did not catch fire, so days later the group attacked the school, he said.

The resulting destruction of the Islamic school sent shock waves across the country and over 1,000 people took part in a silent march in the town to demonstrate that they opposed the attack.

But B. says the identity of the perpetrators was common knowledge among his fellow students at the VMBO school. "Half of the school knew of our plans. We incited each other. It began more or less as a joke, but then we could not back down."

B.'s father was also interviewed by Zembla and he denied it had started out as a racist attack, but rather a clash between two groups of children.

The police announced at a press conference on 24 November that seven boys, aged 13 to 16, had been arrested — three for the failed attack on the mosque and the rest for burning the school.

They were released after five weeks in custody and must appear before a court on 19 May. Two of the suspects, Zembla said, are back at school.

B. told Zembla that he went to see the skeleton of the Islamic school himself the day after the attack. "I did not find it fascinating. If it was a burnt-out chicken shed, I would have felt exactly the same way".

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Dutch news

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