Today marks the 16th anniversary of the murder of Theo van Gogh in Amsterdam.
Theodoor “Theo” van Gogh (23 July 1957 – 2 November 2004) was a Dutch film director, film producer, television director, television producer, television presenter, screenwriter, actor, critic and author.
Theo van Gogh was born on 23 July 1957 in The Hague, Netherlands to Anneke and Johan van Gogh. His father served in the Dutch secret service (‘AIVD’, then called ‘BVD’). Theo van Gogh was the great-grandson of Theo van Gogh, the brother of painter Vincent van Gogh
Van Gogh worked with the Somali-born writer and politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali to produce the short film Submission (2004), which criticized the treatment of women in Islam.
On 2 November 2004, Van Gogh was murdered by Mohammed Bouyeri, a Dutch-Moroccan Muslim. The last film Van Gogh had completed before his death, 06/05, was a fictional exploration of the assassination of Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn.
Working from a script written by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Van Gogh created the 10-minute short film Submission. The movie deals with violence against women in some Islamic societies; it tells the stories, using visual shock tactics, of four abused Muslim women. The title, Submission, is a translation of the word “Islam” into English. In the film, women’s naked bodies, with texts from the Qur’an written on them in henna, in an allusion to traditional wedding rituals in some cultures, are veiled with semi-transparent shrouds as the women kneel in prayer, telling their stories as if they are speaking to Allah.
In August 2004, after the movie’s broadcast on Dutch public TV, the newspaper De Volkskrant reported that the journalist Francisco van Jole had accused Hirsi Ali and Van Gogh of plagiarism, saying that they had appropriated the ideas of Iranian-American video artist Shirin Neshat, whose work used Arabic text projected onto bodies.
Following the broadcast, both Van Gogh and Hirsi Ali received death threats. Van Gogh did not take the threats seriously and refused any protection. According to Hirsi Ali, he said, “Nobody kills the village idiot”, a term he frequently used about himself.
Van Gogh was murdered by Mohammed Bouyeri while cycling to work on 2 November 2004 at about 9 o’clock in the morning, in front of the Amsterdam East borough office (stadsdeelkantoor), on the corner of the Linnaeusstraat and Tweede Oosterparkstraat.
The killer shot Van Gogh eight times with an HS2000 handgun. Bouyeri was also on a bicycle and fired several bullets, hitting Van Gogh and two bystanders.
Wounded, Van Gogh ran to the other side of the road and fell to the ground on the cycle lane. According to eyewitnesses, Van Gogh’s last words were “Don’t do it, don’t do it.” or “Have mercy, have mercy, don’t do it, don’t do it.”Bouyeri walked up to Van Gogh, who was on the ground, and calmly shot him several more times at close range.
Bouyeri cut Van Gogh’s throat with a large knife and tried to decapitate him, after which he stabbed the knife deep into Van Gogh’s chest, reaching his spinal cord. He attached a note to the body with a smaller knife. Van Gogh died on the spot.The two knives were left implanted. The note was addressed to and contained a death threat to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who went into hiding. It also threatened Western countries and Jews, and referred to ideologies of the Egyptian organization Takfir wal-Hijra.
The killer, Mohammed Bouyeri, a 26-year-old Dutch-Moroccan citizen, was apprehended by police after a chase, during which he was shot in the leg. Authorities have alleged that Bouyeri has terrorist ties with the Dutch Islamist Hofstad Network. He was charged with the attempted murder of several police officers and bystanders, illegal possession of a firearm, and conspiring to murder others, including Hirsi Ali. He was convicted at trial on 26 July 2005 and sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole.
In 1995, Mohammed Bouyeri finished his secondary education and subsequently went on to the “Nyenrode College ” 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 suspected terrorist . 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. Serving as witness in another court case involving the Hofstad group in May 2007, Bouyeri for the time expressed in more depth his thoughts regarding Islam. Here he said that armed Jihad was the only option of Muslims in the Netherlands and that democracy was always a violation of Islam because laws cannot be produced by humans but only by Allah
The murder sparked a violent storm of outrage and grief throughout the Netherlands. Flowers, notes, drawings and other expressions of mourning were left at the scene of the murder.
I think that Mohammed Bouyeri is more of a deranged psychopath then anything else. Someone with a warped sense of entitlement.
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