Anthony Browne in Amsterdam reports for the Times Online (thanks to Ali Dashti) on the mosque attacks we posted here yesterday, as well as reprisal attacks on churches:
RELIGIOUS violence flared yesterday as thousands turned out to line the streets at the funeral of Theo van Gogh, the murdered film-maker and vocal critic of Islam.
Two Dutch churches were attacked by arsonists, in seeming retaliation for earlier attacks on mosques, while an opinion poll showing that 40 per cent of Dutch people no longer considered Muslims welcome underlined a rapid deterioration of tolerance in the previously liberal Netherlands. A Muslim school in the southern Dutch village of Uden was burnt down last night. The attackers left a message referring to the murder.
Mr van Gogh, whose last film, Submission, criticised the treatment of women under Islam, was cremated in a ceremony broadcast on large screens for the crowds outside an Amsterdam cemetery and live on national television. A sarcastic letter was read out to Mr van Gogh’s killer, promising “we will do our very best to learn more about your beliefs to prevent further misunderstanding” and apologising that the killing “had to happen in the middle of Ramadan”….
At the funeral, crowds waved banners demanding: “Let’s protect our freedom of speech” and “No to fundamentalism”.
A woman wore a T-shirt with pictures of Mr van Gogh and his friend, Pim Fortuyn, the assassinated politician who called for a halt to Islamic immigration, with the words “The lords of the free word” and asking: “Who is next?” She said: “In the Second World War under Nazi occupation you were killed for speaking out, and now it is happening again.”
Carel Mayer, an insurance manager, carried a sign which said: “Silence is deadly. If you speak you will be killed. To be able to speak out is the most important thing.”
He said: “Van Gogh has died so other people have to speak up. People have to be able to say what they mean if we are to live together.”
Hans Bethlehem, an associate of Mr van Gogh, said: “All the problems were covered up for such a long time, they are now all bursting out.”…
Since the murder, other politicians seen as “enemies of Islam” have been issued with death threats and two have been taken into police custody.
Over the weekend, several mosques were subjected to arson attacks and vandalism. One Islamic school had its front door blown off by a bomb.
Yesterday, two Protestant churches in Utrecht and Amersfoort had petrol bombs thrown at them, while a Middle Eastern radical Islamic group threatened reprisals if the mosque attacks continue.
The opinion poll also said that 90 per cent felt the Dutch were becoming less tolerant, and 47 per cent admitted they were less tolerant of Muslims.