Dutch Experience of Islamic Extremism
Frans van Anraat
Abdul Qadeer Khan
Theo van Gogh (film director)
Peter R. de Vries
Algemene Inlichtingen-en Veiligheidsdienst (AIVD), formerly known as the BVD (Binnenlandse Veiligheidsdienst) is the General Intelligence and Security Service of the Netherlands. The office is in Leidschendam-Voorburg.
About this information
Oversight and accountability
Methods and authorities
Influence and results
About this information
Since the AIVD is a secret service it is hard to verify information contained on this page. The AIVD's website (including its yearly reports), and occasional answers to questions in parliament are the only official sources of information available. The following is further based on media reports.
The AIVD focuses mostly on domestic non-military threats to Dutch National security, whereas the Military Intelligence and Security Service (MIVD) focuses on international threats, specifically military and government-sponsored threats such as espionage. The AIVD, unlike its predecessor BVD, is charged with collecting intelligence and assisting in combatting both domestic and foreign threats to national security.
Since the murder of Theo van Gogh and the discovery of the Hofstad Network, AIVD has refocused on the Islamic Fundamentalist threat to Dutch society.
Oversight and accountability
The minister of internal affairs (and relations within the realm) is politically responsible for the AIVD's actions. Oversight is provided by the Intelligence Committee of parliament, comprising the speakers for the biggest four parties in the second chamber of parliament (cf. Congress, Commons), and by an Oversight Committee with members appointed by parliament.
The AIVD publishes a yearly report which includes its budget. The published version contains redactions where information is deemed sensitive.
The AIVD can be forced by the courts to publish any records held on a private citizen, but it may keep secret information that is relevant to current cases. No information that is less than five years old will be provided under any circumstance to private citizens about their records.
Its main activities include;
• monitoring specific groups, such as leftist activists, islamic groups, and right-wing extremists
• sourcing intelligence to and from foreign and domestic intelligence services
• performing background checks on individuals employed in "positions of trust", specifically public office, and higher-up or privileged positions in industry (such as telecommunications, banks, the largest companies) -- this ironically includes members of parliamentary oversight committees
• nvestigating incidents such as (terrorist) bombings and threats
• giving advice and warning about risks to national security, including advising on the protection of political figureheads
Methods and authorities
Its methods and authorities include:
• telephone and internet taps authorized by the minister of internal affairs (as opposed to a court order)
• infiltration (rarely by employees of the service, but rather by outsiders who would have easy access to a particular group)
• the use of informants (existing members of groups that are recruted)
• open sources intelligence
• unfettered access to police intelligence
• the use of foreign intelligence service liaisons (such as CIA personnel) that reside in the Netherlands under a diplomatic status (including full diplomatic immunity) to collect intelligence in excess of the AIVD's authority
The latter is technically the same as sourcing intelligence from a foreign intelligence service; this method has not been confirmed, conversely however, Dutch citizens have been extradited to the US on the basis of evidence provided by diplomats. Since the US constitution does not apply in The Netherlands, but long arm statutes do, these agents were unconcerned with whether their activities constituted entrapment.
The AIVD operates in tight concert with the Regional Intelligence Service (Regionale Inlichtingen Dienst, RID), to which members of the police are appointed in every police district. It also co-operates with over one hundred intelligence services, including the CIA. Given the small size of the Netherlands, the latter co-operation is not likely to be symmetrical.
Soon after the arrest of the Dutch businessman Frans van Anraat who has been convicted of complicity in war crimes for selling raw materials for the production of chemical weapons to Iraq during the reign of Saddam Hussein, Dutch newspapers reported that Van Anraat had been an informer of the Dutch secret service AIVD and has enjoyed AIVD's protection.
• Recently the service has been critized for letting go of Abdul Qadeer Khan, who stole Dutch nuclear knowledge and used it for Pakistan to produce its nuclear bomb.
• not having enough focus and intelligence on Islamic groups, particularly following September 11th and the murder of Theo van Gogh by Mohammed Bouyeri a member of the Hofstad Network of Islamic terrorists
• not having enough focus and intelligence on political violence or environmental groups, particularly following the murder of Pim Fortuyn by an environmental radical
• investigating family members of the Queen, that had had a family rift (Princess Margarita and Edwin De Roy van Zuydewijn) though this was not ordered by the minister of internal affairs, but rather by the Queen's office
• losing a laptop and a floppy disk with classified information from a regional office of the AIVD.
The disk was found by a employee of a car rental agency, and subsequently given to Dutch crime-journalist Peter R. de Vries. Information on the disks indicated that the service collected information on Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn and members members of his party, as well as on left-wing activists. Among other things, the documents accuse Pim Fortuyn of having sex with under age Moroccan boys.
During the Cold War the BVD had a reputation for interviewing potential employers of persons they deemed suspicious for any reason, thereby worrying corporations on the employment of these persons. Reasons for being suspect included leftist ideals, membership of the Dutch Communist Party or a spotty military record (such as being a conscientious objector with regard to conscription).
Influence and results
Before September 11th the Netherlands had the largest absolute number of wiretaps in the world, more even than the US (although international calls to and from the US never needed any court order to be intercepted and were not included in the figures). To this day it is a widely held belief that requests for wiretaps by the AIVD are always granted.
The service's focus on leftist activism is legendary; leftist activists exhibit great measures of paranoia relating to the service's activities, whether real or imaginary. This focus on leftist, rather than right-wing or Islamic organizations is a legacy from the Cold War and historical threats posed by RaRa, the Red Army Faction and such.
The AIVD has close ties with the American CIA since The Netherlands and The U.S. have been very good friends for a long period of time. It is likely that the AIVD has significant influence in police and prosecution circles, given recent cases where suspected terrorists were prosecuted (and found not guilty) or successfully extradited (Mullah Krekar) without credible non-secret evidence.
During the 1970's Van Anraat worked at engineering companies in Italy, Switzerland and Singapore that were building chemical plants in Iraq. Having learned about the trade in chemicals, he founded his own company, "FCA Contractor", based in Bissone, Switzerland. From 1984 he supplied thousands of tons of chemicals to Iraq. Among these chemicals were the essential raw materials for producing mustard gas and nerve gas. Both gasses were used during the Iran-Iraq war between 1980-1988 as well as during an attack the military carried out on Iraqi Kurds in 1988, in which some 5,000 people were killed. This attack was part of the Al-Anfal campaign of the Iraqi regime against Kurds in the north of the country.
After his arrest and release in Italy in 1989, Van Anraat fled to Iraq, where he lived for the next 14 years. When Saddams regime fell in 2003, Van Anraat returned to the Netherlands. He was arrested on December 6, 2004 for complicity to war crimes and genocide. On December 23, he was sentenced to fifteen years in prison for complicity to war crimes, but the court argued the charges of complicity to genocide could not be substantiated. The public prosecutor appealed the verdict. This case is also notable, because it established that the chemical bombings in North Iraq constituted genocide according to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
Soon after his arrest, Dutch newspapers reported that Van Anraat had been an informer of the Dutch secret service AIVD.
Van Anraat is the only Dutchman ever to appear on the FBI's most wanted list.
Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan (born 1935, Bhopal, India) is a Pakistani engineer widely regarded as the father of Pakistan's nuclear weapons programme. (His middle name is also occasionally rendered as Quadeer, Qadir or Gadeer and his given names are often abbreviated to A.Q.).
In January 2004, he confessed to having been involved in an international network of clandestine nuclear proliferation from Pakistan to Libya, Iran and North Korea.
On February 5, 2004, General Pervez Musharraf announced that he had pardoned Khan.
In an August 23, 2005 interview with Kyodo News Musharraf confirmed that Khan had sent gas centrifuges and centrifuge parts to North Korea, and possibly an amount of uranium hexafluoride.
Development of nuclear weapons
Investigations into nuclear proliferation
Khan and the Iranian nuclear programme
U.S. reaction to the pardon
Born in 1935 into a middle-class Muslim family in Bhopal, India, Dr. Khan migrated to Pakistan in 1952 following the country's partition from India five years earlier. He trained as an engineer at the University of Karachi before moving after graduation to West Germany, The Netherlands and Belgium for further studies, earning a doctorate from the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium in 1972.
That same year, he joined the staff of the Physical Dynamics Research Laboratory, or FDO, in Amsterdam. FDO was a subcontractor for the URENCO uranium enrichment plant at Almelo in the Netherlands, which had been established in 1970 by the United Kingdom, West Germany and the Netherlands to assure a supply of enriched uranium for European nuclear reactors. The URENCO plant used secret Zippe-type centrifuge technology to separate fissionable uranium-235 from U-238 by spinning a mixture of the two isotopes at up to 100,000 revolutions a minute. The technical complexity of this system is the main obstacle to would-be nuclear powers developing their own enrichment facilities.
In May 1974, India tested a nuclear bomb, to the great alarm of Pakistan's government. Around this time, Khan had privileged access to the most secret areas of the URENCO plant as well as to documentation on centrifuge technology. A subsequent investigation by the Dutch authorities found that he had passed highly classified material to a network of Pakistani intelligence agents, although they found no evidence that he was sent to the Netherlands as a spy, nor were they able to determine whether he approached his government or whether it was the other way around. He left the Netherlands suddenly in January 1976 and was put in charge of the Pakistani nuclear programme with the support of then prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.
Former Dutch Prime Minister Ruud Lubbers revealed in early August 2005 that the Netherlands knew of Khan stealing nuclear secrets but let him go on two occasions after the CIA expressed their wish to continue monitoring his movements.
Development of nuclear weapons
Khan established the Engineering Research Laboratories at Kahuta in July 1976, subsequently renamed as the Dr. A.Q. Khan Research Laboratories (KRL), as the focal point for developing a uranium enrichment capability. KRL also took on many other weapons projects, including the development of the nuclear-capable Ghauri ballistic missiles. KRL occupied a unique role in Pakistani industry, reporting directly to the Prime Minister's office, and having extremely close relations with the military: former prime minister Benazir Bhutto has said that during her term of office, even she was not allowed to visit the facility.
Pakistan very rapidly established its own uranium enrichment capability and was reportedly able to produce highly enriched uranium by 1986. This progress was so rapid that international suspicion was raised as to whether it had had outside assistance. It was reported that Chinese technicians had been at the facility in the early 1980s, but suspicions soon fell on Khan's activities at URENCO. In 1983, he was sentenced in absentia to four years in prison by an Amsterdam court for attempted espionage, although the sentence was later overturned on appeal on a legal technicality. Khan rejected any suggestion that Pakistan had illicitly acquired nuclear expertise: "All the research work [at Kahuta] was the result of our innovation and struggle," he told a group of Pakistani librarians in 1990. "We did not receive any technical know-how from abroad, but we can't reject the use of books, magazines and research papers in this connection."
In 1987, a British newspaper reported that Khan had openly confirmed Pakistan's acquisition of a nuclear capability. He was quoted as confirming that American intelligence reports "about our possessing the bomb is correct and so is speculation of some foreign newspapers" and criticised Pakistan's detractors, who had "told the U.S. that Pakistan could never produce the bomb and they now know we have done it." Khan's statement was subsequently disavowed by the Pakistani government and Khan himself initially denied giving it, although he later retracted his denial. The Pakistani newspaper Dawn reported in October 1991 that Khan repeated his claim at a dinner meeting of businessmen and industrialists in Karachi, which "sent a wave of jubilation" through the audience.
During the 1980s and 1990s, Western governments became increasingly convinced that covert nuclear and ballistic missile collaboration was taking place between China, Pakistan and North Korea. According to the Washington Post, "U.S. intelligence operatives secretly rifled [Khan's] luggage ... during an overseas trip in the early 1980s to find the first concrete evidence of Chinese collaboration with Pakistan's bomb effort: a drawing of a crude, but highly reliable, Hiroshima-sized weapon that must have come directly from Beijing, according to U.S. officials." The activities of the Khan Research Laboratories led to the United States terminating economic and military aid to Pakistan in October 1990, following which the Pakistani government agreed to a freeze in the nuclear programme. According to the Federation of American Scientists, this came into force in 1991. However, Khan later claimed in a July 1996 interview with the weekly Friday Times that "at no stage was the programme (of producing weapons-grade enriched uranium) ever stopped".
The American clampdown may have prompted an increasing reliance on Chinese and North Korean nuclear and missile expertise. In 1995, the U.S. learned that the Khan Research Laboratories had bought 5,000 specialized magnets from a Chinese government-owned company, for use in uranium enrichment equipment. More worryingly, it was reported that Pakistani nuclear technology was being exported to other aspirant nuclear states, notably North Korea. In May 1998, Newsweek magazine published an article alleging that Khan had offered to sell nuclear know-how to Iraq, an allegation that he denied. A few weeks later, both India and Pakistan conducted nuclear tests that finally confirmed both countries' development of atomic weapons. The event was greeted with jubilation in both countries and Khan was feted as a national hero. President Muhammad Rafiq Tarar awarded him a gold medal for his role in masterminding the Pakistani nuclear programme. The United States immediately imposed sanctions on both India and Pakistan and publicly blamed China for assisting the Pakistanis.
Investigations into nuclear proliferation
Khan's open promotion of Pakistan's nuclear and missile capabilities became something of an embarrassment to Pakistan's government. The United States government became increasingly convinced that Pakistan was trading nuclear technology to North Korea in exchange for ballistic missile technology. In the face of strong American criticism, the Pakistani government announced in March 2001 that Khan was to be dismissed from his post as chairman of KRL, a move that drew strong criticism from the religious and nationalist opposition to President Pervez Musharraf. Perhaps in response to this, the government instead appointed Khan to the post of special science and technology adviser to General Musharraf, with ministerial rank. While this could be presented as a promotion for Khan, it removed him from hands-on management of KRL and gave the government an opportunity to keep a closer eye on his activities.
Khan came under renewed scrutiny following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and the subsequent US invasion of Afghanistan to oust the fundamentalist Taliban regime. It emerged that al-Qaeda had made repeated efforts to obtain nuclear materials to build either a radiological bomb or a crude nuclear bomb. In late October 2001, the Pakistani government arrested three Pakistani nuclear scientists, all with close ties to Khan, for their suspected connections with the Taliban. Two of the scientists were subsequently said to have admitted having had talks with Osama bin Laden.
The Bush administration continued to investigate Pakistani nuclear proliferation, ratcheting up the pressure on the Pakistani government in 2001 and 2002 and focusing on Khan's personal role. In 2002, the Wall Street Journal quoted unnamed "senior Pakistani officials" as conceding that Khan's dismissal from KRL had been prompted by U.S. suspicions of his involvement in weapons technology transfers with North Korea. It was alleged in December 2002 that U.S. intelligence officials had found evidence that an unidentified agent supposedly acting on Khan's behalf had offered nuclear expertise to Iraq in mid-1990, though Khan strongly denied this allegation and the Pakistani government declared the evidence "fraudulent". The United States responded by imposing sanctions on KRL, citing concerns about missile technology transfers.
Khan and the Iranian nuclear programme
In August 2003, reports emerged of dealings with Iran; it was claimed that Khan had offered to sell nuclear technology as long ago as 1989. The Iranian government came under intense pressure from the United States and European Union to make a full disclosure of its nuclear programme and finally agreed in October 2003 to accept tougher investigations from the International Atomic Energy Authority. The IAEA reported that Iran had established a large uranium enrichment facility using centrifuges based on the stolen URENCO designs, which had been obtained "from a foreign intermediary in 1987." The intermediary was not named but many diplomats and analysts pointed to Pakistan and specifically to Khan, who was said to have visited Iran in 1986. The Iranians turned over the names of their suppliers and international inspectors quickly identified the Iranian centrifuges as Pak-1s, the model developed by Khan in the early 1980s. Two senior staff at the Khan Research Laboratories were subsequently arrested in December 2003 on suspicion of having sold nuclear technology to the Iranians.
That same month, on December 19, Libya made a surprise announcement that it had weapons of mass destruction programmes which it would now abandon. Libyan government officials were quoted as saying that Libya had bought nuclear components from various black market dealers, including Pakistani scientists. In particular, American officials who visited the Libyan uranium plants shortly afterwards reported that the centrifuges used there were very similar to the Iranian ones.
The Pakistani government's blanket denials became untenable as evidence mounted of illicit technology transfers. It opened an investigation into Khan's activities, arguing that even if there had been wrongdoing, it had occurred without government knowledge or approval. Although he was not arrested, Khan was summoned for "debriefing". On January 25, 2004 the investigators reported that Khan and Mohammed Farooq, a high-ranking manager at KRL, had provided unauthorised technical assistance - allegedly in exchange for tens of millions of dollars - to Iran's nuclear-weapons program in the late 1980s and early 1990s. General Mirza Aslam Beg, a former chief of army staff at the time, was also said to have been implicated; the Wall Street Journal quoted government officials as saying that Khan had told investigators that nuclear technology transfers to Iran had been authorised by General Beg. On January 31, Khan was sacked from his post as the presidential science adviser, ostensibly to "allow a fair investigation" of the nuclear proliferation scandal.
It remains to be seen whether Khan, Farooq and Beg will face any charges. Khan remains an extremely popular figure in Pakistan. He is known as an outspoken nationalist and for his belief that the West is inherently hostile to Islam; in Pakistan's strongly anti-American climate, tough action against him poses political risks for General Musharraf, who already faces accusations of being too pro-American. An additional complicating factor is that few believe that Khan acted alone and the affair risks gravely damaging the Pakistani army, which controlled the nuclear programme and of which Musharraf is still the commander-in-chief. The same investigation also exposed South African businessman Asher Karni as having sold nuclear devices to Khan's associates. Karni is currently in US prison, awaiting trial.
It is widely believed that the reason Khan was pardoned (and not executed as was the case with a previous Pakistani leader Zulfikar Ali Bhutto) was because he had information hidden overseas with people he could trust, that would undermine or embarrass the current leadership.
U.S. reaction to the pardon
The United States government decided to leave the fate of Khan in the hands of General Musharraf, imposing no penalties on the Pakistani government or on individuals. Officials explained that in the War on Terrorism it was not their goal to denounce or imprison people, but "to get results." The White House chose not to sanction Pakistan or to demand an independent investigation of the Pakistani military. "It's just another case where you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar," an official explained.
However, in a speech to the National Defense University on February 11, 2004, U.S. President George W. Bush proposed to reform the International Atomic Energy Agency: "No state under investigation for proliferation violations should be allowed to serve on the IAEA Board of Governors -- or on the new special committee. And any state currently on the Board that comes under investigation should be suspended from the Board. The integrity and mission of the IAEA depends on this simple principle: Those actively breaking the rules should not be entrusted with enforcing the rules."
The Bush proposal was seen as targeted against Pakistan, which currently serves a regular term on the IAEA's Board of Governors. It has not received attention from other governments.
Theo van Gogh (July 23, 1957 – November 2, 2004) was a controversial Dutch film director, television producer, publicist and actor.
A descendant of the brother of the famous Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh, he was murdered by Mohammed Bouyeri.
Van Gogh's film Submission
Van Gogh's murder
Van Gogh's murder and Index on Censorship
Van Gogh was born in The Hague. His great-grandfather was art dealer Theo van Gogh, brother of Vincent van Gogh. His father, Johan van Gogh, was a member of the Dutch secret service ('AIVD', then called 'BVD'). After dropping out of law school he became a stage manager. His self proclaimed passion was in the making of movies, and he debuted as a director with the movie Luger (1981). He received a Gouden Kalf ("Golden Calf", the Dutch equivalent of the Oscar) for Blind Date (1996) and In het belang van de staat ("In the Interest of the State", 1997). For the latter, he also received a "Certificate of Merit" from the San Francisco International Film Festival. As an actor he appeared in the production De noorderlingen ("The Northerners", 1992). After that, he worked for television and wrote provocative columns for Metro and other newspapers.
Van Gogh was a virtuoso writer of polemic prose. His often scandalous tone and personal animosities got him involved in a number of public law suits against other writers and public figures and got him fired as a columnist of a succession of magazines and periodicals, forcing him to seek refuge at his own website, called De Gezonde Roker ("The Healthy Smoker"). This, also being the title of one of his books, was an allusion to his notorious chain smoking and to the 'politically correct' negative stance towards smoking in society. In general, Van Gogh had a strongly nihilistic outlook on life, displayed, amongst others, by episodes of heavy drinking, his open use of the drug cocaine and a cynical view of love relationships. Although he seemed to enjoy his life, he said he wouldn't mind dying, if it weren't for his young son, Lieuwe van Gogh. His last book (2003) was Allah weet het beter ("Allah Knows Best") in which, in his typical cynical, mocking tone, he presented his views on Islam. He was a well-known critic of Islam, especially after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. He supported the nomination of the liberal (former PvdA Labour Party), Somalian-born female politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali for Dutch parliament. As of 2003, she is a Member of Parliament for the classical-liberal VVD party, which advocates limits to the admission of immigrants into the Netherlands.
Van Gogh was a member of the Dutch republican society Republikeins Genootschap which advocates the abolition of the Dutch monarchy, and a friend and supporter of the controversial Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn who was assassinated in 2002. He was also a staunch supporter of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, although he revised his stance to a more neutral one in 2004.
Although Van Gogh was known as a friendly, tolerant character, in the 1980s, he became a newspaper columnist, and through the years he used his columns to vent his anger at politicians, actors, film directors, writers and other people he considered to be part of "the establishment".
He incurred the anger of leading members of the Jewish community by making comments about what he saw as the Jewish preoccupation with Auschwitz. This quote from a 1991 magazine interview is a typical example of such commentary. Van Gogh explained a "smell of caramel" by stating that "today they're only burning diabetic Jews." When he was criticized by the Jewish historian Evelien Gans, he wrote in Folia Civitatis magazine: "I suspect that Ms. Gans gets wet dreams about being fucked by Dr Mengele." He also expressed the wish that she would sue him so that she would have to explain in court why his remarks were false.
Van Gogh rejected every form of organised religion. In the late 1990s he started to focus on Islam. He caused widespread resentment in the Muslim community by consistently referring to them as geitenneukers (goat-fuckers). Although it is not clear whether Van Gogh actually coined the term geitenneukers, he certainly popularized it. He felt strongly that political Islam is an increasing threat to liberal western societies, and said that, if he'd been younger, he would have emigrated to the U.S.A., which he considered to be a beacon of light in a darkening world.
One of the few politicians who seemed to be exempt from Van Gogh's criticisms was the conservative leader Pim Fortuyn, who was assassinated in 2002. Van Gogh usually referred to him as the divine baldhead. After the death of Fortuyn, Van Gogh continued attacking the remaining members of the Lijst Pim Fortuyn as he did other politicians. His political idol from then on was Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
Van Gogh's film Submission
Working from a script written by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, van Gogh created the 10-minute movie Submission. The movie deals with the topic of violence against women in Islamic societies; telling the stories of four abused Muslim women. The title itself, "Submission", is the translation of the word "Islam" in english. In the film, the women's naked bodies are veiled with semi-transparent shrouds as they kneel in prayer, telling their stories as if they are speaking to Allah. Qur'anic verses unfavourable to women are painted on their bodies in Arabic . After the movie was released in 2004, both van Gogh and Hirsi Ali received death threats. Van Gogh did not take these very seriously and refused any protection - reportedly telling Hirsi Ali: "Who would want to kill the village idiot?" The movie was perceived by the Islamic community as an inaccurate perception of Islamic teachings.
Van Gogh's murder
Van Gogh was murdered in the early morning of Tuesday November 2, 2004, in Amsterdam in front of the Amsterdam East borough office (stadsdeelkantoor) on the corner of the Linnaeusstraat and Tweede Oosterparkstraat streets. He was shot with eight bullets from a HS2000 (a handgun produced in 2000 in Croatia) and died on the spot. His throat was slit, and he was then stabbed in the chest. Two knives were left implanted in his torso, one pinning a five-page note to his body. The note (Text) threatened Western governments, Jews and Hirsi Ali (who went into hiding). The note also contains references to the ideologies of the Egyptian organization Takfir wal-Hijra.
The murderer Mohammed Bouyeri, a 26-year-old Dutch citizen, was apprehended by the police after being shot in the leg. Although born in Amsterdam, well-educated and apparently well-integrated, Bouyeri has alleged terrorist ties with the Dutch Hofstad Network. He was also charged with attempted murder of a police officer and bystander, illegal possession of a firearm, and conspiring to murder others, including Hirsi Ali. He was convicted on July 26, 2005 and sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole.
Until his murder Van Gogh was working on a movie about the assassination of Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn. The film was officially released on the internet on December 15, 2004 and had its cinema premiere on January 30, 2005.
Van Gogh was cremated on November 9, 2004 in Amsterdam. During the memorial service Lou Reed's 'Perfect Day' was played; a pack of cigarettes and a bottle of booze were placed on the coffin.
The day after the murder Dutch police arrested eight Muslim radicals belonging to a group later referred to as the Hofstad Network. Six detainees were Dutch-Moroccans, one was Dutch-Algerian and one had dual Spanish-Moroccan nationality. By November 11, 18 religious sites (mainly Muslim, with some Christian) had been vandalised or subjected to arson.
The murder led to a wider and more polarized debate about the position of the more than one million Muslims in the Netherlands and how they would be affected. Many ethnically Dutch citizens fear that Holland will lose its traditional tolerance and Western liberalism, becoming increasingly influenced by Islamic viewpoints on these issues. These fears are fueled by population growth studies and projections that show the Muslim community growing much faster than that of the "autochtonen" (autochthonous Dutch). In the four largest Dutch cities, the majority among children under 14 are Muslims, according to the conservative Washington Times. It is projected that the major Dutch cities will soon have a majority Islamic population. On the other hand, many Islamic Dutch residents feel discriminated against and singled out. The increasing polarization has led to calls from many religious leaders and politicians for calm and improved communication between the communities.
In an apparent reaction against controversial statements about the Islamic, Christian and Jewish religions, such as those Theo van Gogh was renowned for, the Dutch Minister of Justice, Christian Democrat Piet Hein Donner suggested the existing Dutch blasphemy laws should either be applied more stringently or made stricter. This had led to a counter call by the liberal D66 party to scrap the blasphemy law altogether.
Independent Dutch member of parliament Geert Wilders (who was previously forced to leave the right-wing VVD party because of his views) advocated a five-year halt to non-Western immigration in the wake of the murder of Theo van Gogh stating: "The Netherlands has been too tolerant to intolerant people for too long. We should not import a retarded political Islamic society to our country" In opposition to such anti-Islamic sentiments, campaigns for a kleurrijk Nederland [colorful Netherlands], such as Stop de Hetze were started.
Geert Wilders and Ayaan Hirsi Ali went into hiding for several weeks. They have been under the protection of bodyguards ever since.
Van Gogh's murder and Index on Censorship
There was controversy in the English-speaking world after an article was published in the magazine Index on Censorship that to many readers seemed to condone or justify van Gogh's murder. The article, by the magazine's Associate Editor Rohan Jayasekera, claimed that van Gogh was a "free-speech fundamentalist" who had been on a "martyrdom operation[,] roar[ing] his Muslim critics into silence with obscenities" in an "abuse of his right to free speech".
Describing van Gogh's film Submission as "furiously provocative", Jayasekera concluded by describing his death as:
A sensational climax to a lifetime's public performance, stabbed and shot by a bearded fundamentalist, a message from the killer pinned by a dagger to his chest, Theo van Gogh became a martyr to free expression. His passing was marked by a magnificent barrage of noise as Amsterdam hit the streets to celebrate him in the way the man himself would have truly appreciated.
And what timing! Just as his long-awaited biographical film of Pim Fortuyn's life is ready to screen. Bravo, Theo! Bravo
There were many protests from both left- and right-wing commentators at the article, and Nick Cohen of the London Observer wrote in December, 2004, that:
When I asked Jayasekera if he had any regrets, he said he had none. He told me that, like many other readers, I shouldn't have made the mistake of believing that Index on Censorship was against censorship, even murderous censorship, on principle -- in the same way as Amnesty International is opposed to torture, including murderous torture, on principle. It may have been so in its radical youth, but was now as concerned with fighting 'hate speech' as protecting free speech.
Cohen's opinion was repudiated by the editor of Index on Censorship in a letter to the Observer Jayasekera himself has indeed expressed regrets and has put his own case for speaking his mind on Van Gogh's life legacy on the Index website.
Van Gogh contributed to various newspapers and magazines, often leaving these jobs after a quarrel.
He published the following books:
Engel ("Angel", 1990)
Er gebeurt nooit iets ("Nothing Ever Happens", 1993)
Sla ik mijn vrouw wel hard genoeg? ("Do I Beat My Wife Hard Enough?", 1996)
De gezonde roker ("The healthy smoker", 2000)
Allah weet het beter ("Allah Knows Best", 2003)
De tranen van Mabel ("The tears of Mabel", with Tomas Ross, 2004)
Een dagje naar het strand ("A Day at the Beach", 1984)
Terug naar Oegstgeest ("Back to Oegstgeest", 1987)
Loos ("Wild", 1989)
Vals licht ("False Light", 1993)
Ilse verandert de geschiedenis ("Ilse Changes History", 1993)
Reunie ("Reunion", 1994)
Een galerij: De wanhoop van de sirene ("A Gallery: The Despair of the Siren", 1994)
De Eenzame Oorlog Van Koos Tak ("Koos Tak's Lonely War", 1995)
Blind Date (1996)
Hoe ik mijn moeder vermoordde ("How I Killed My Mother", 1996)
In het belang van de staat ("In the Interest of the State", 1997)
Au ("Ouch", 1997)
De Pijnbank ("The Rack", 1998)
Baby Blue (2001)
De nacht van Aalbers ("Aalbers's Night", 2001)
Najib en Julia (2002)
Zien ("Seeing", 2004)
Bad (a 'lesbian road movie'; production was planned for 2005)
Duizend en één Dag ("The thousand and one days") a drama series about young muslims, struggling with their faith. Although this project had not even reached preproduction, Van Gogh already found a broadcaster for the series: Dutch Muslim Broadcasting Organisation NMO.
Mohammed Bouyeri (born March 8, 1978 in Amsterdam), is serving a life sentence without parole for the murder of Dutch film director Theo van Gogh. He holds both Dutch and Moroccan citizenship.
In 1995, Mohammed Bouyeri finished his secondary education and subsequently went on to the college "InHolland" in Diemen. He changed his major several times and left after five years without obtaining a degree.
A second generation migrant from Morocco, Bouyeri used the pen name "Abu Zubair" for writing and translating. On the Internet he often posted letters and sent e-mail under this name.
At an early age he was known to the police as a member of a group of Moroccan "problem-youth." For a while he worked as a volunteer at Eigenwijks, a neighbourhood organization in the Slotervaart suburb of Amsterdam. He started to radicalize shortly after his mother died and his father re-married in the fall of 2003. The September 11 attacks and the war in Iraq contributed to his radicalization. He started to live according to strict Islamic rules. As a result he could perform fewer and fewer tasks at Eigenwijks. For example, he refused to serve alcohol and did not want to be present at activities attended by both women and men. Finally, he put an end to his activities at Eigenwijks altogether. He grew a beard and began to wear a djellaba. He frequently visited the El Tawheed mosque where he met other radical Muslims, among whom were terrorism suspect Samir Azzouz. With them he is said to have formed the Hofstad Network, a Dutch terrorist cell. He claims to have murdered van Gogh to fulfill his duty as a Muslim.
Mohammed Bouyeri was arrested on November 2, 2004, shortly after the death of Theo van Gogh and close to the scene of the crime after an exchange of gunfire with the police in which he was shot in the leg. In his interrogations, he exercised his right to remain silent. On November 11, public prosecutor Leo de Wit accused him of six criminal acts: murder, attempted murder (of a police officer), attempted manslaughter (of by-standers and police officers), violation of the law on gun-control, suspicion of participation in a criminal organisation with terrorist aims, and conspiracy to murder with a terrorist purpose Van Gogh, member of parliament Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and others.
When arrested, Bouyeri had on him a farewell poem with the title In bloed gedoopt (Immersed/baptised in blood) from which it appears he intended to die a martyr.
The poem contains the following lines:
BAPTIZED IN BLOOD
So these are my last words…
riddled with bullets…
baptized in blood…
as I had hoped.
I am leaving a message…
for you… the fighter…
the Tawheed tree is waiting…
yearning for your blood…
enter the bargain…
and Allah opens the way…
He gives you a garden…
instead of the Earthly rubble.
To the enemy I say…
You will surely die…
Wherever in the world you go…
Death is waiting for you…
Chased by the knights of DEATH…
who paint the streets with Red.
For the hypocrites I have one final word…
Wish DEATH or hold your tongue… and sit.
Dear Brothers and Sisters, my end is nigh…
But this does not end the story.
IN BLOED GEDOOPT
Dit is dan mijn laatste woord…
Door kogels doorboord…
In bloed gedoopt…
Zoals ik had gehoopt.
Ik laat een boodschap achter…
Voor jou...de vechter…
De boom van Tawheed is afwachtend…
Naar jouw bloed smachtend…
Ga de koop aan…
En Allah geeft je ruimbaan…
Hij geeft je de Tuin…
In plaats van het aardse puin.
Tegen de vijand heb ik ook wat te zeggen…
Je zal zeker het loodje leggen…
Al ga je over de hele wereld op Tour…
De dood is je op de Loer…
Op de hielen gezeten door de Ridders van de DOOD…
Die de straten kleuren met Rood.
Tegen de hypocrieten zeg ik tenslotte dit:
Wenst de DOOD of hou anders je mond en ...zit.
Beste broeders en zusters ik nader mijn einde…
Maar hiermee is het verhaal zeker niet ten einde.
Pinned to the body of Van Gogh with a smaller knife, Bouyeri was said to have left a second letter, consisting of five pages in which Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), and politicians in general are warned. It contains repeated references to alleged Jewish influences in politics. The letter refers to the fundamentalist ideology of the Takfir wal-Hijra. This letter probably wasn't written by Mohammed Bouyeri himself, but by his group's ideologist. It was signed Saifu Deen al-Muwahhied.
The trial against Bouyeri took two days on July 11 and 12, 2005, in a high-security building in Amsterdam-Osdorp. In a letter on July 8, he announced that he would not attend the trial voluntarily. The Prosecutor demanded of the court that he be forcibly transported to the courthouse. This request was accepted by the court. Bouyeri's lawyers did attend the trial; they did not, however, ask questions or make closing statements.
In the Dutch law system, a Prosecutor demands a punishment in a requisitoir. Presenting the requisitoir to the court took 4 hours, at the end of which the demand was presented which read (unabridged):
The defendent rejects our democracy. He even wants to bring down our democracy. With violence. He is insistent. To this day. He sticks to his views with perseverence. This calls for a strong response. By literally placing him outside our democracy. This means that he will not be allowed to vote. This means deprivation of active and passive suffrage. Taking everything into consideration, the severity of the facts, the underlying circumstances, and the personality of the defendant, I find only one punishment suitable and that is life imprisonment.
On July 26, 2005, Bouyeri received a life sentence without parole.
Murderer of Dutch filmmaker van Gogh gets life term
Life imprisonment is the severest punishment in the Netherlands and is always without parole. Bouyeri is only the 28th person to receive this punishment since 1945, excluding war criminals. Life sentence is ordinarily seen only with multiple-homicide cases, but a new law introduced in 2004 also qualifies leaders of terrorist organisations. In addition, the Wet terroristische misdrijven ("terrorist crimes law", in effect since August 10, 2004), also states that, if there is a terrorist motive for a crime, the term can be increased by half. Imprisonments ordinarily in excess of 15 years can be upgraded to life imprisonment, as was the case with Bouyeri.
The network is said to have links to networks in Spain and Belgium. Among their contacts is Abdeladim Akoudad, also known as Naoufel, one of the suspects of the Casablanca Attacks. The group is influenced by the ideology of Takfir wal-Hijra. Redouan al-Issar, also known as "The Syrian" is the suspected spiritual leader of the group. Most media attention is attracted by Mohammed Bouyeri, convicted to a life sentence for murdering Dutch film director Theo van Gogh and by Samir Azzouz, suspected of planning terrorist attacks on the Dutch parliament and several strategic targets such as the national airport and a nuclear reactor. The group is also suspected of planning to kill several members of government and parliament.
The Dutch General Intelligence and Security Service AIVD dubbed the group Hofstad Network for internal purposes in the fall of 2002.
On October 14 2003 Samir Azzouz, Ismail Akhnikh, Jason Walters and Redouan al-Issar were put under arrest for planning a terrorist attack in the Netherlands, but were released soon after. Azzouz was eventually tried in this case, but acquitted for lack of evidence in 2005: he did possess a home made bomb, but having used the wrong type of fertilizer it would never have exploded.
Shortly after the murder of Theo van Gogh by Mohammed Bouyeri in November 2004 the organization gained attention from national media when an attempt to arrest suspected members Jason Walters and Ismail Akhnikh lead to a 14 hour siege of a house in The Hague. The name Hofstad Network becomes public and from then on the organization is referred to as such in the media. In the months after the siege, a number of other suspected members of the organization are arrested. On December 5 2005 the Hofstad court case against 14 suspected members started.
On March 10 the court convicted nine of the 14 suspects of being member of a criminal terrorist organisation. The other five suspected member were acquitted of this charge.
In the meantime, Samir Azzouz, Jermaine Walters – suspected but not incarcerated – and another 5 members were arrested on suspicion of preparing an attack against (yet unnamed) national politicians and the building of the General Intelligence and Security Agency AIVD on October 14 2005. In this separate case Nouredine el Fahtni is also a suspect.
On March 10, 2006, the Dutch court of Rotterdam, dependency The Hague, meeting in a protected courtroom in Amsterdam-Osdorp put forth the following verdicts:
Jason Walker - 15 years incarceration
Ismail Akhnikh - 13 years incarceration
Nouredine el Fahtni - 5 years incarceration
Jermaine Walker was exonerated from making a threat against Dutch Parliamentarian Hirsi Ali.
Born 1978; suspected leader of the group; convicted to a life sentence for the murder of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh.
Redouan al-Issar, aka "The Syrian", aka sheik Abu Khaled
Born sometime between 1955 and 1965; suspected spiritual leader of the group; currently wanted by Dutch authorities for his role in the network; possibly incarcerated in Syria.
Born 1986; tried and acquitted of planning terrorist attacks in 2004; currently also a suspect in a second case of terrorist activity, together with Nouredine el Fahtni.
Jason Walters, aka Abu Mujahied Amriki
Born 1985; threw a hand grenade when police attempted to arrest him and Ismaël Akhnikh, causing a 14 hour siege of their house in The Hague in November 2004; brother of Jermaine.
Ismaël Akhnikh, aka Suhaib
Born 1983; arrested after a 14 hour police siege in The Hague.
Mohammed Fahmi Boughabe, aka Abu Mussab
Nouredine el Fahtni
Carried a loaded machine gun at the time of his arrest, possibly on his way to kill politicians Geert Wilders and/or Ayaan Hirsi Ali; arrested in the summer of 2004 on suspicion of plotting an attack on then prime minister Barroso; currently also a suspect in a second case of terrorist activity, together with Samir Azzouz.
Born 1986; brother of Jason.
Yousef Ettoumi, nicknamed "Semi" and "Bommetje" (little bomb)
Zine Labidine Aourghe
Mohamed el Morabit
Mohamed el Bousklaoui
In 2005 De Vries decided to start a new political party, called P.R.D.V.: Partij voor Rechtvaardigheid, Daadkracht en Vooruitgang (Party for Justice, Action strength and Progress). On October 31]] he presented his plans, that mainly focused on changing the existing political culture in the Netherlands. To prove his point he stated that an opinion poll on December 16 would decide whether he would actually continue his party or not. Since only 31,4% thought De Vries would be a gain for Dutch politics, and not his longed 41%, he decided not to continue this party.
Wilhelmus Simon Petrus Fortuijn, known as Pim Fortuyn
(surname pronounced somewhat like for-TOYN, IPA: [pɪm fɔʁtœʏn]),
(February 19, 1948 Velsen, North Holland, The Netherlands – May 6, 2002 Hilversum, North Holland, The Netherlands), was a controversial, openly gay, charismatic politician in the Netherlands who formed his own party Lijst Pim Fortuyn (List Pim Fortuyn or LPF).
He was assassinated during the 2002 Dutch national election campaign by Volkert van der Graaf, a white collar left-wing environmentalist.
Wilhelmus Simon Petrus Fortuijn
Fortuyn was the center of controversy for his views on Islam and his anti-immigration positions. He called Islam a backwards culture. He was labelled a far-right populist by his opponents and the media, but he fiercely rejected this label and distanced himself clearly from far-right politicians such as Filip Dewinter of Vlaams Blok, Jörg Haider of Austria or Jean-Marie Le Pen of France. Fortuyn compared his own politics to center-right politicians such as Silvio Berlusconi of Italy. Fortuyn could be considered a nationalist, on cultural rather than racial grounds.
Views on Islam and Immigration
Reasons for success
Fortuyn was born on February 19, 1948 in Velsen, to a Roman Catholic family. He studied sociology in Amsterdam and later worked as a lecturer at the Nijenrode Institute and as an associate professor at the University of Groningen. In 1988, he moved to Rotterdam, and became the director of a government organisation administering student transport cards. From 1991 to 1995, he was an "extraordinary full professor" at the Erasmus University and held the Albeda professorship in public service wage negotiation. When he left that position, he made a career of public speaking and writing books and press columns, gradually becoming involved in politics.
On November 26, 2001, he was elected by a large majority as lijsttrekker of the newly formed Leefbaar Nederland (Livable Netherlands) party to participate in the May 2002 Dutch parliamentary elections.
On February 9, 2002, he was interviewed by the Volkskrant, a Dutch newspaper (see below). The statements he made were considered so controversial that he was dismissed as lijsttrekker the next day. In the interview Fortuyn said, among other things, that he favoured putting an end to Muslim immigration, if that were possible. Having been rejected by his party, Fortuyn founded his own party LPF (Lijst Pim Fortuyn) on February 11, 2002. Many Leefbaar Nederland supporters transferred their support to the new party.
As lijsttrekker for the Leefbaar Rotterdam party, a local offshoot of his national party, he achieved a major victory in the Rotterdam district council elections in early March 2002. The new party won about 36% of the seats, making it the largest faction in the council. For the first time since the Second World War, the social democratic Labour Party found itself out of power.
On May 6, 2002, at age 54, he was assassinated by Volkert van der Graaf. The attack took place in a parking lot outside a radio studio in Hilversum, where Fortuyn had just given an interview. This was nine days before the elections for the lower house of Parliament, for which he was running. The attacker was pursued by Hans Smolders, the driver of Pim Fortuyn, and was arrested by the police shortly afterwards, still in possession of a gun.
Months later, Volkert van der Graaf confessed in court to Holland's first modern age political assassination (excluding WW II events), possibly the first since the lynching of the De Witt brothers in The Hague in 1672. Van der Graaf claimed that he shot Pim Fortuyn "to defend Dutch Muslims from persecution." Facing a raucous court on the first day of his murder trial, van der Graaf said his goal was to stop Fortuyn from exploiting Muslims as "scapegoats" and targeting "the weak parts of society to score points" to try to gain political power. Van der Graaf said: "I confess to the shooting. He was an ever growing danger who would affect many people in society. I saw it as a danger. I hoped that I could solve it myself."
The assassination shocked the Netherlands and made the cultural clashes within the country apparent. Politicians from all political parties suspended campaigning. After consultation with LPF, it was decided not to postpone the elections. However, under Dutch law, it was not possible to modify the ballots, so Fortuyn became a posthumous candidate. The LPF went on to win an unprecedented debut in the lower house of parliament, winning 26 seats (17% of the 150 seats in the house). However, after the elections the following year, this figure dropped to 8 seats, and 2005 polls suggest that figure would drip to just one seat, if elections were to be held.
Fortuyn was buried on July 20, 2002, at Provesano di San Giorgio della Richinvelda (Provesano), in the province of Pordenone in Italy, where he had owned a house.
Views on Islam and Immigration
In August 2001, Fortuyn was quoted in the Rotterdams Dagblad newspaper, saying, among other things, "I am also in favour of a cold war with Islam. I see Islam as an extraordinary threat, as a hostile religion.’. In the TV program Business class Fortuyn said that muslims in Netherlands do not accept the Dutch society. Fortuyn appeared several times in the TV program Business class, moderated by his friend Harry Mens. In this program it has been suggested that his words were interpreted rather harshly, if not wrongly. For instance, he said that Muslims in the Netherlands needed to accept living together with the Dutch, and that if this was unacceptable for them, then they were free to leave. His concluding words in the TV program were I want to live together with the Muslim people, but a tango needs two.
On February 9, 2002, he made further controversial statements in a Dutch newspaper, this time the Volkskrant. He said that the Netherlands, with a population of 16 million, had enough inhabitants, and therefore, the practice of allowing as much as 40,000 asylum-seekers into the country each year had to be stopped (however, the actual number was not that high and already falling at that time). He claimed that if he became part of the next government, he would pursue a restrictive immigration policy while also granting citizenship to a large group of illegal immigrants. Furthermore, he considered Article 7 of the constitution, which asserts freedom of speech, of more importance than Article 1, which forbids discrimination. However, he distanced himself from Hans Janmaat of the Centrum Democraten, who in the 1980s wanted to remove all foreigners from the country and was repeatedly convicted for discrimination and hate speech.
Fortuyn proposed that all people who already resided in the Netherlands would be able to stay, but he emphasised the need of the immigrants to adopt the Dutch society's consensus on human rights as their own. He said "If it were legally possible, I'd say no more Muslims will get in here", claiming that the influx of Muslims would threaten freedoms in the liberal Dutch society. He thought Muslim culture had never undergone a process of modernisation and therefore still lacked acceptance of democracy and women's, gays', lesbians' and minorities' rights, and feared it would dismiss the Dutch legal system in favour of the shari'a law.
One of Fortuyn's fears was of pervasive intolerance in the Muslim community. In a televised debate in 2002, "Fortuyn baited the Muslim cleric by flaunting his homosexuality. Finally the imam exploded, denouncing Fortuyn in strongly anti-homosexual terms. Fortuyn calmly turned to the camera and, addressing viewers directly, told them that this is the kind of Trojan horse of intolerance the Dutch are inviting into their society in the name of multiculturalism."
When asked by the Dutch newspaper Volkskrant whether he hated Islam, he replied: "I don't hate Islam. I consider it a backward culture. I have travelled much in the world. And wherever Islam rules, it's just terrible. All the hypocrisy. It's a bit like those old Reformed Protestants. The Reformed lie all the time. And why is that? Because they have norms and values that are so high that you can't humanly maintain them. You also see that in that Muslim culture. Then look at the Netherlands. In what country could an electoral leader of such a large movement as mine be openly homosexual? How wonderful that that's possible. That's something that one can be proud of. And I'd like to keep it that way, thank you very much."
Fortuyn was author of the 1997 book Against the Islamicisation of Our Culture.
He said he was neither right wing nor left wing, asked for more openness in politics, and expressed his distaste for what he called "subsidy socialism". He furthermore criticised the media as a Siamese twin of the government.
He wanted smaller-scale organisation of public services such as health, education, and the police, making extensive use of the possibilities of information technology (for example, a surgeon conducting an operation remotely at a local hospital). Critics said his plans would require building hundreds or thousands of new institutions at enormous expense, but Fortuyn said no extra funds would be allocated until inefficiencies had been removed.
He also held liberal views, favouring the drug policy of the Netherlands, same-sex marriage, euthanasia, and related positions.
He wanted to unite the army and air force to save money, retaining only a navy, but also favoured re-instating compulsory military service, giving youngsters the choice between military service and a new form of social services (in which they would help in hospitals or retirement homes, for example). It is often said that he wanted to disband the army and the air force; however, Fortuyn denied this on 24 March 2002 in a business TV programme.
Reasons for success
Many opinion leaders have tried to explain the rise of Fortuyn and his appeal with a large segment of the voters. A widely held view focuses on a perceived "gap" between politicians and common citizens: according to this account the feelings and complaints of the population, in particular concerning immigration and integration, were ignored for reasons of political correctness or simply because politicians were out of touch with their voters. Others pointed at Fortuyn's charisma and his oratory skills, which were in stark contrast with those of some of his opponents. Finally, some feel the political culture at the time was to blame - the traditional emphasis on consensus within Dutch politics (Polder Model) was further heightened during the coalition governments of former enemies PvdA and VVD (the mainstream left- and right-wing parties respectively). These governments were also known for what are sometimes called "back room deals": intensive collaboration between the government and the coalition parties in the parliament. All this had led to increasingly similar political platforms for the coalition parties, a development that Fortuyn used to his advantage, some would say.
Of course, the explanations mentioned above are not mutually exclusive, and many believe several of these factors, and others, have played a role.
Fortuyn is widely credited with dramatically changing the Dutch political landscape and political culture. The 2002 elections, only weeks after Fortuyn's death, were marked by large losses for the VVD and especially the Social Democratic Party PvdA (which was even halved in size); both parties replaced their unpopular leaders shortly after. The election winners were Fortuyn's party LPF, and the Christian Democratic Party CDA, which, according to pundits, was seen as a "safe haven" by those who planned to vote for Fortuyn but were wary of voting for a party without his leadership. On the other hand, others speculate that Fortuyn's perceived martyrdom may have played into the hands of LPF.
All major parties have adopted tougher immigration and integration viewpoints after the rise of Fortuyn. The immigration policy of the Netherlands is now one of the strictest in the EU. In addition, debates on these topics, in politics, but also in everyday life, have become more prevalent and are no longer taboo as many claim they were in the years before Fortuyn. However, while some applaud these developments as a release from political correctness, others have objected to the harsher political and social climate, especially towards immigrants and Muslims. Contemporary Dutch politics is more polarized than it has been in recent years, especially on the issues that Fortuyn was best known for. There is a deep division on whether to consider the multicultural society a failure, and to what extent assimilation is needed. Furthermore, the decision by the government to expel a large number of asylum seekers whose application had failed was met with praise but also with fierce criticism (incidentally, Fortuyn advocated an amnesty for asylum seekers already residing in the Netherlands).
Many politicians stress the importance of learning from the reasons behind the failure of the traditional parties. Listening to voters, transparent government, more dualism and speaking plainly are praised as some of the lessons learned from Fortuyn's success, though some complain that there have been no substantial changes, or that common courtesy in politics has been replaced by populism.
The coalition cabinet of CDA, LPF and VVD fell within three months, largely due to infighting within the LPF. The LPF was diminshed to only 8 seats in parliament (out of 150) and was not included in the new government; however, political commentators speculate that there is still a sizable number of discontented voters who may vote for a non-traditional party, if a viable alternative is at hand. In recent times the Group Wilders, which has a strong stance on immigration and integration, has performed well in polls.
Fortuyn received many votes due to his stance on immigration and integration, which is traditionally seen as right-wing. However, this should perhaps not be seen as an indication of the Dutch voters leaning more towards the right in general, given, for example, the unpopularity of the present right-wing cabinet, and the strong showing of left-wing parties in recent polls (note however that if the present cabinet completes its term, new elections are not expected until 2007). Many of those who had voted for Fortuyn's LPF in 2002 seem to have returned back to the left-wing PvdA, or indicate that they will refrain from voting at all. Meanwhile, the LPF is reduced to just 1 seat in a July 22, 2005 poll by NOVA, a Dutch current affairs TV programme.
In 2004, in a TV show, Fortuyn was chosen as "Greatest Dutchman of all times’, followed closely by William of Orange, the leader of the independence war that established the precursor to the present-day Netherlands. However, the election was widely regarded as not being representative because it was held through the internet and by phoning in, so easily hijacked and probably heavily influenced by Fortuyn’s sympathizers, who had his violent death still fresh in their minds. It later turned out that William of Orange had in fact received more votes, although they could not be counted until after the official closing time of the poll (and the proclamation of the winner), due to technical problems. The result has therefore not been corrected.
Special forces of the Netherlands
On Islamic Intolerance
The terrorist lodestar
Islamic Understanding of Christianity by Soloman Nigosian
Where did terrorism start?
Bouyeri's courtroom lecture
Verdict in Dutch terror trial
Fundamentalism does not necessarily lead to terrorism