Dutch step up Muslim protection

Police patrols are to be stepped up in a Netherlands city where tensions are high after a bomb at an Islamic school.

The mayor of Eindhoven has ordered extra security for mosques and schools following the blast on Monday, which severely damaged the school building.

Police said the bomb could be among a series of possible revenge attacks for the killing of film-maker Theo Van Gogh by a suspected Islamic radical.

Van Gogh is to be cremated in a public ceremony in Amsterdam on Tuesday.

Mosques in several Dutch cities have been the targets of vandalism and failed arson attempts since he was shot and stabbed last Tuesday.

Mayor of Eindhoven Alexander Sakkers said additional patrols would give round-the-clock protection for all Muslim places of worship and education in the city.

They include five mosques used by the 20,000 or so Muslims among Eindhoven’s total population of 210,000.

The school bombing at 0230 GMT on Monday blew out its windows and doors, as well as those of neighbouring buildings, but no-one was hurt.

Attacks ‘feared’

“Eindhoven is shocked, very shocked, by a cowardly deed in the middle of the night when normal citizens are sleeping,” Mr Sakkers said.

Ayhan Tonca, chairman of the Contact Group for Muslims and Government, told Associated Press that the Muslim community feared further attacks.

He said: “We had seen a number of incidents of arson already but this was a full-scale bombing.

“We can only be grateful it was in the middle of the night and not when the children were at school.”

Mr Tonca, whose organisation represents 300 mosques in the Netherlands, said some had already appointed their own guards during prayers.

He insisted the government must do more to protect Islamic sites to prevent security fears escalating.

Driss el Boujoufi, deputy head of the Ummon association for 90 Moroccan mosques in the Netherlands, told Agence France Presse surveillance had been heightened.

But, he warned, most of the 90 mosques did not have the means to ensure security around the clock.

A number of demonstrations are planned to coincide with Van Gogh’s funeral.

Several men, all believed to be Islamic radicals, have been arrested in connection with the film-maker’s death.


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Nov. 8, 2004
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Religion News Blog posted this on Tuesday November 9, 2004.
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