Saturday, November 06, 2004
Europeans Face Tough Choices on Islam. (Hat tip: Place42)
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands - Europe's complex interplay with Islam appears to stand at a tipping point, and the slaying of a Dutchman who made a movie critical of Islam could indicate one direction in which it is headed. "The Muslims say they're scared," said mourner Nicolette Toering. "No, we're scared."Hashem yikom damo. May God avenge Theo's blood.
Dutch authorities were investigating whether the chief suspect in the slaying, a 26-year-old Dutch-Moroccan man arrested shortly after the attack on terrorism-related charges, acted alone out of rage or had links to wider extremist networks. Police have detained several other suspects facing charges including conspiracy to murder.
A five-page letter pinned to the body of Theo van Gogh, brutally murdered Tuesday as he was riding his bike down a busy boulevard in Amsterdam, called for Muslims to rise up against the "infidel enemies" in the West.
Other messages — later left at the sidewalk shrine where the 47-year-old filmmaker's throat was slashed — dripped with equal venom against radical Islam. "Enemies live among us," read one missive in a bed of flowers, votive candles and crosses.
The letter stuck to the victim's body threatened death to Somali-born lawmaker Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who scripted Van Gogh's last film, "Submission," which criticized the treatment of women under Islam.
It also predicted the downfall of the "infidel enemies of Islam" in Europe, America and the Netherlands.
Heightening fears nationwide, two Dutch men were arrested late Friday for allegedly posting a video on the Internet calling for the beheading of right-wing lawmaker Geert Wilders for perceived insults to Islam.
Prosecutors said the video was posted last month and offered "paradise" for whoever beheads Wilders. The lawmaker, who said after Van Gogh's slaying that he will form his own anti-immigration party, has been threatened before and remains under police protection.
Arab music and singing accompanies the video, which runs a little longer than a minute. The site where the video first was posted has been closed, but it could still be seen on other Dutch Web sites.
The attack has underscored the hard political and social choices that European leaders face about Muslims and the wider Islamic world. ...
"The jihad (holy war) has come to the Netherlands," parliament speaker Jozias van Aartsen said.
The memorials that piled up on the dark brick sidewalk often crossed the line from sympathy to seething recriminations. "This is the true face of Islam," said a handwritten message. A framed poem called "Imam" ends with a stanza: "If you want to improve the world, start with yourself and your faith."
A banner waved from a fence: "Theo rests his case."