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Report: Dutch filmmaker murdered

The Associated Press, USA
Nov. 2, 2004
seattlepi.nwsource.com

ReligionNewsBlog.com • Tuesday November 2, 2004

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands — A Dutch filmmaker who criticized the treatment of women under Islam in a recent movie and in newspaper columns was murdered in Amsterdam, media reported Tuesday.

Police confirmed a fatal shooting occurred outside a city government office, but did not give the victim’s name.

Amsterdam television station AT5 cited witnesses saying the victim was filmmaker Theo van Gogh. A bystander was also reportedly injured in a shootout between the culprit and police.

Police spokesman Eric Vermeulen said the victim was shot and the shooter fled to a local park. He was then arrested after exchanging gunfire with police.

Both the suspect and a policeman suffered minor injuries.

“They were conscious” when taken to hospital, Vermeulen said.

Van Gogh also wrote columns about the Islam which were published on his Web site, www.theovangogh.nl, and Dutch newspaper Metro. He had reportedly received death threats following the airing of the film.

The short television film “Submission” aired on Dutch television in August and enraged the Muslim community in the Netherlands.

It told the fictional story of a Muslim woman forced into a violent marriage, raped by a relative and brutally punished for adultery.

The English-language film was scripted by a right-wing politician who years ago renounced the Islamic faith of her birth and now refers to herself as an “ex-Muslim.”

Somali-born Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a member of the Dutch parliament, has repeatedly outraged fellow Muslims by criticizing Islamic customs and the failure of Muslim families to adopt Dutch ways.

The place of Muslim immigrants in Dutch society has long been a contentious issue in the Netherlands, where many right-wing politicians have pushed for tougher immigration laws and say Muslims already settled in the country must make a greater effort to assimilate.

Theo van Gogh, 47, has often come under criticism for his controversial movies. In December, his next movie “06-05,” about the May 6, 2002 assassination of Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn, is scheduled to debut on the Internet.

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