Dutch Filmmaker
Who Angered Muslims
Shot Dead

By Paul Gallagher and Marcel Michelson
AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - A controversial Dutch filmmaker accused by Muslims of ridiculing their religion was stabbed and shot dead on his bicycle on Tuesday, shocking the Netherlands where the murder was denounced as an attack on free speech.
Theo van Gogh, a distant relative of 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh, stirred controversy with newspaper articles, books and films voicing his contentious views on Islam after the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.
Van Gogh, 47, was attacked near a park close to the center of the Dutch capital in the morning on his way to work in what could be the second political killing in the country in two years after anti-immigration politician Pim Fortuyn was shot.
Police arrested a man near the scene after an exchange of gunfire in which the suspect wounded a police officer. The suspect, who was wounded in the leg, was a 26-year-old man with dual Dutch and Moroccan citizenship.
Police said the murder was clearly premeditated.
A note was found at the scene and, Dutch media said, it contained lines from the Koran, the Muslim holy book.
Van Gogh, who branded imams women-haters and ridiculed the Prophet Mohammad in his newspaper columns, was hailed as a champion of free speech by some Dutch but others called him an extremist, while Muslims said they found his work insulting.
He had received death threats but had rejected protection after a recent television program, called Submission, about domestic violence in some Muslim marriages.
"Van Gogh was someone who joined the public debate with outspoken views. He was a champion of free speech. The Netherlands is a country in which people can speak their mind. We must all stand for that," said Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency.
Security for politicians was stepped up after the killing of Fortuyn by an animal rights activist ahead of a May 2002 election in which his party took second place.
The Netherlands is home to nearly one million Muslims or 5.5 percent of the population.
Several thousand people demonstrated on Amsterdam's central Dam square and railway drivers were urged to honk their horns to protest the murder.
People banged on drums, pots and pans and blew whistles for some 15 minutes, with some participants holding up signs saying "Muslims against Violence."
Abdou Menebhi, of the Amsterdam Moroccan council, urged his co-religionists to obey a minute of silence in the mosque in the evening during regular Ramadan holy month prayers.
The UMAH association of Moroccan-Dutch academics said they did not share Van Gogh's opinions but condemned his murder.
Police in the Hague, seat of the Dutch government, arrested several people who had been shouting anti-immigrant slogans.
Immigration, integration and Islam are burning issues in the Netherlands where outspoken parliamentarians such as Geert Wilders, an opponent of Turkish EU membership, have received death threats.
"In this country, nobody can be killed because of what he says, that is not what we want," Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk told the crowd. (Additional reporting by Anna Mudeva, Melanie Cheary, Theo Kolker and Lucas van Grinsven)
Email From Holland On
Death Of Theo van Gogh

This was received from a source who requested anonymity. -ed
Hi xxxxx,
My faith is at a very low point, because Theo van Gogh, Holland's best film director, columnist and writer was assassinated today by a Muslim extremist. He was shot seven times, after which the murderer slit his throat and drove a knife into his chest to which a note was attached. It happened in broad daylight on the streets of Amsterdam (yes, he was a descendant of the famous 19th. century painter).
The reason? Theo had made a movie that was critical of the treatment of women by the Islam. There's a huge demonstration tonight on the Dam square in Amsterdam (it's the central square with the Palace where we met up with my wife in the hotel).
I was declared insane years before 911 by saying that WW3 would be between the West and the Islam and that it would be a very difficult war because we would not be fighting countries and armies, but ideology and terrorism. I don't particularly like the fact that it seems to be going that way and that it is getting closer all the time..
So, if you feel like praying tonight, say one for Theo van Gogh because I admired him and I am very angry and very low on Christian tolerance toward my fellow men.
Your Friend
By the way, you're welcome here if Bush wins.




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