Dutch Filmmaker Theo Van Gogh Murdered

Dutch Filmmaker Theo Van Gogh Murdered — Theo Van Gogh, the Dutch Filmmaker Who Criticized Islam, Slain in Amsterdam (ABC News – AP)

A Dutch filmmaker who had received death threats after releasing a movie criticizing the treatment of women under Islam was slain in Amsterdam on Tuesday, police said. A suspect, a 26-year-old man with dual Dutch-Moroccan nationality, was arrested after a shootout with officers that left him wounded, police said. Filmmaker Theo van Gogh had been threatened after the August airing of the movie “Submission,” which he made with a right-wing Dutch politician who had renounced the Islamic faith of her birth. Van Gogh had received police protection after its release. Dutch national broadcaster NOS and other media reported that Van Gogh’s killer shot and stabbed his victim and left a note on his body. NOS said witnesses described the attacker as having an “Arab appearance.”

A witness who lives in the neighborhood heard six shots, and saw the man concealing a gun. She said he walked away slowly, spoke to someone at the edge of the park, and then ran. “He was walking slowly, like he was trying to be cool,” she said, describing him as wearing a long beard and Islamic garb. “He was either an Arabic man or someone disguised as a Muslim,” she said.
Another witness told Dutch Radio 1 the killer arrived by bicycle and shot Van Gogh as he got out of a car. “He fell backward on the bicycle path and just laid there. The shooter stayed next to him and waited. Waited to make sure he was dead.”

The slain filmmaker was the great grandson of the brother of famous Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh, who was also named Theo. In a recent radio interview, Van Gogh dismissed the threats and called the movie “the best protection I could have. It’s not something I worry about.”

Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende called on the Dutch people to remain calm. “Nothing is known about the motive,” he said in a written statement. “I want to call on everyone not to jump to far-reaching conclusions. The facts must first be carefully weighed so let’s allow the investigators to do their jobs.” Balkenende praised Van Gogh as a proponent of free speech who had “outspoken opinions.” “It would be unacceptable if a difference of opinion led to this brutal murder,” he said.

No kidding. And, please, is there really any doubt as to the motive of the murder?

See also the BBC account.

FILED UNDER: Popular Culture, Terrorism, , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. M. Murcek says:

    Can all serious people please dispense with the “religion of peace” garbage?

  2. Whoever wins the election, we still are a nation besieged. The Hatred of Islamic zealots for unbelievers predates by six centuries the arrival of Christians and Jews on the shores of North America. However stupid George Bush may be, his dumbness or brilliance is a miniscule factor in the enduring belligerence between Islam and ALL its neighbors.

    Look at any academic site (as opposed to those of organizations that are PROMOTIMG Islam) and read for yourself a concise history of Islam. You will find (forgive me, those of you who have seen this before) that the Prophet Mohammed himself commanded military assaults upon his enemies, and personally ordered beheadings and executions of unbelievers. In the first decade after his death, the leadership of Islam changed hands several times. In each instance, one aspirant murdered and replaced his predecessor. In the first century of its existence on the planet, Islam was imposed by its fanatical leaders use of military assault on successive neighbors spreading from the Arabian Peninsula eastward across north Africa and Northward up Palestine,Lebanon and Syria, through Turkey to Istanbul. In many parts of the Islamic world, slavery is still routinely practiced. Sharia— civil law according to Islamic principles— imposes beheadings, amputations, and hanging for acts and behaviors we in the Western democracies tolerate and defend — sexual promiscuity, homosexuality, dissent, etc.

    The European Union is experiencing its own difficulties assimilating huge Islamic immigrant populations. Anti-semitism has deep roots, and racial tensions and racist attitudes are very strong in Europe. For them to be lecturing the United States about our attitudes and attempts at resolving our problems is ludicrous.

    For any person who intends to govern America, it is insane to expect Europe to provide answers to our problems. They can’t defend, or govern, themselves. Joschka Fisher, the FOREIGN MINISTER of Germany, is a terrorist sympathizer— He was photographed in an internationally reported incident in the 1970’s kicking and beating a German police officer at a dmonstration, with six other demontstrators assisting. He admitted in a widely reported trial of the Bader-Meinhoff gang (of terrorists) that his home was used as a safe house by known terrorists in the 1970s.

    That such a man could be ELECTED by the german population, OR appointed to such a high office in the German government, speaks volumes about the fundamental INSANITY of the current European culture.

    For John Kerry to announce that he regards the European attitudes as any sort of touchstone for his policies identifies him as someone who should never be entrusted with the reins of government.

    Don’t take my word for the assertions I make. Do your own google search on “Joschka Fischer” or “Islamic History timeline.”

  3. Jamie says:

    I believe it’s one thing if people of one faith critisize their belief, practices and else. It’s totally another thing if an outsider does so. Muslims showed their utter discomfort with a non-muslim dis-respecting them. It’s just a matter of fact now, anybody who passes the red line is playing with his/her own life. It’s like traveling to Iraq. This is just the way it is.