Van Gogh Killing Reveals Dutch Anger at Muslims
Van Gogh’s killing reveals anger at Islam (Washington Times)
Two weeks after the brutal slaying of filmmaker Theo van Gogh, many Dutch are saying their normally staid society has been transformed just as the United States was altered by the September 11 attacks. Polls taken in the hours immediately after Mr. van Gogh was fatally shot and nearly beheaded showed that 80 percent of Netherlands residents think their country has been changed forever.
Opinion polls show an overwhelming majority of citizens favor a crackdown on Muslim extremists, who are estimated to number as many as 50,000 in the country. “It was a great shock. A wake-up call,” said Theo Kwakman, a construction foreman restoring an ancient building along the old Warmoesstraat. “I’m afraid that there will be more Muslims here soon than Christians. “I don’t worry about the atheists. They won’t do anything. [Muslims] are not all bad. But … I’m afraid someday one of the tunnels [into Amsterdam] will be blown up.”
The killing unleashed a torrent of pent-up Dutch anger at the Muslim community, and in the two weeks since, there have been at least 20 attempted fire bombings or arson attacks on mosques and Muslim schools. A smaller number of churches have been attacked in retaliation.
Muslims now make up about 5 percent of the Netherlands’ 16 million people. About 300,000 are Moroccans, and another 300,000 are Turks, many of whom came as “guest workers” and never went home. They now call the Netherlands their home, and many of their children have full Dutch citizenship.
Police and security officials will not say how many Muslims are involved in extremism, but a Dutch intelligence report from the General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD) said there may be as many as 50,000 Muslims sympathetic to extremist ideas. That is far too many for the comfort of many Dutch residents. Past polls repeatedly have shown that about 50 percent of the “native” Dutch think their country has too many foreigners of any kind Ã¢€” but particularly Moroccan and Turkish Muslims.
It’s remarkable to me how relatively little of this reaction there has been in the United States.