Dutch call murder a declaration of Islamic holy war

‘Jihad’ is here: Death threat against ex-Muslim politician is pinned to the body of filmmaker Theo van Gogh who was shot and stabbed to death

THE HAGUE, Netherlands – The government vowed tough measures Friday against what a leading politician called ”the arrival of jihad in the Netherlands” after a death threat to a Dutch lawmaker was found pinned with a knife to the body of a slain filmmaker by his radical Islamic attacker.

A five-page letter released Thursday night by the justice minister forced political leaders – including Amsterdam’s Jewish mayor and members of parliament – to take on bodyguards.

The document, stuck to the body of filmmaker Theo van Gogh, was titled ”An open Letter to [Aayan] Hirsi Ali,” referring to a Somali-born member of parliament. She had scripted Van Gogh’s latest film, ”Submission,” which criticized the treatment of women under Islam.

”Since your arrival in the political arena in the Netherlands you have been constantly busy terrorizing Muslims with your statements,” the letter read. ”You are not the first and not the last who has joined the crusade against Islam.”

Hirsi Ali, who calls herself an ex-Muslim, has gone into hiding.

The letter also asserted: ”It is a fact that Dutch politics is dominated by many Jews.”

”What do you think of the fact that there is a Jew in power in Amsterdam?” it said, referring to Amsterdam’s Mayor Job Cohen.

Deputy Prime Minister Gerrit Zalm agreed with comments by other politicians who called Van Gogh’s murder a declaration of Islamic holy war.

”We are not going to tolerate this. We are going to ratchet up the fight against this sort of terrorism,” he said. ”The increase in radicalization is worse than we had thought.”

Among measures under consideration is an emergency law to enable authorities to revoke and deport the Dutch nationality of dual citizens suspected of terrorist activity.

Zalm said the intelligence service, which has already expanded since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the United States, would receive more funding to help it monitor potential terrorist recruits.

The suspected killer in the Van Gogh case, a 26-year-old Dutch-Moroccan national, was arraigned on six terrorism-related charges.

Van Gogh, a distant relative of the famous 19th-century Dutch painter, was shot and stabbed to death Tuesday while cycling down an Amsterdam street. The provocative social commentator and author, whose throat was slashed in the attack, will be cremated Tuesday in a public service.

The murder is testing already strained relations between the ethnic Dutch population and the Muslim community. There are about 300,000 Moroccan immigrants in the Netherlands out of a population of 16 million. Zalmsaid talks were ongoing with Muslim groups over how to avoid a violent backlash against Muslims.

Arsonists are believed to have set fire to a mosque in the central Dutch city of Utrecht, police spokesman Peter Keijzers said. There were no reports of injuries.

Jozias van Aartsen, parliamentary speaker for the right-wing free market VVD party, the second-largest party in the government of Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, issued a statement that called Van Gogh’s slaying tantamount to a declaration of war.

”The jihad has come to the Netherlands and a small group of jihadist terrorists is attacking the principles of our country,” he said.”I hope the Netherlands will now move beyond denial and do what is fitting in a democracy; take action. ”These people don’t want to change our society, they want to destroy it,” he said.

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