Dutch Muslim school damaged by blast
8 November 2004
AMSTERDAM — Police are linking an early morning bomb attack on an Islamic primary school in the southern Dutch city of Eindhoven with the brutal murder of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh last week.
The blast at the Tarieq Ibnoe Ziyad school took place at about 3.30am. No one was injured, but the school entrance was badly damaged and windows in nearby homes were shattered.
Police believe that the explosion was retaliation for the shooting and stabbing of Van Gogh in Amsterdam on the morning of 2 November. The television celebrity’s throat was also slashed and the killer left a note plunged into his chest with a knife.
The note warned that Dutch MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali would share the same fate if she did not stop criticising Islam. Somali-born Hirsi Ali and Van Gogh had worked together recently on the short film Submission, which described violent abuse sometimes committed against Muslim women.
A 26-year-old man — identified only as Mohammed B., who holds Dutch and Moroccan nationality — was arrested for Van Gogh’s murder and was remanded in custody for an extra 10 days on Friday. Besides the letter left with Van Gogh’s body, he was allegedly carrying a suicide farewell letter at the time of his arrest.
Police also arrested an additional suspect, said to be a 23-year-old man of Moroccan ancestry, on Friday.
There are presently six people in custody: Mohammed B., the man arrested Friday, and four other men in custody in connection to the murder.
Another four have been released due to a lack of evidence. One of them was handed over to the Foreign Police as he is suspected of being in the country illegally. The prosecution service (OM) is appealing against the release of two of the suspects.
Meanwhile, Eindhoven Mayor Alexander Sakkers told Radio 1 the bomb attack at the Islamic school was “the work of an idiot”. He said the city council must do everything possible to hold Eindhoven’s various communities together: “This event must not cause a split.”
Sakkers said all Islamic buildings in the city should now be placed under 24-hour guard. Police said there had been no definite indications prior to the bombing that an attack was in the making. An investigation has been launched into the cause of the explosion at the Islamic school.
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.
The Union of Moroccan Mosques also reported a fire last week at a mosque under construction in Zuilen, a suburb of Utrecht. Police have since confirmed the incident was an arson attack and investigations continue. No suspects have been identified.
A spokesman for the Foreign Affairs Ministry said the incidents were no cause for increased security, but admitted the authorities were on the alert for “social unrest”, news agency nu.nl reported on Sunday.
So far, besides the arson attacks, there have been no reports of more widespread inter-community disorder such as street violence or riots.
Interior Minister Johan Remkes warned city councils last week to be on their guard for attacks against mosques, but he did not advise for security to be tightened at Islamic schools and mosques.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news