The Dutch approach towards radicalisation: prevention, detection and intervention

Koos Barten


On August 29, 2004 Dutch television broadcasted “Submission” a documentary about the oppression of women in some Muslim communities10. “Submission” was written by a Dutch politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali from Somalian origin. She had renounced her Islamic religion and turned into an Islam critic mainly because of the disadvantaged position of women in some Islamic communities. Theo van Gogh was a controversial Dutch cineaste who was also a friend of Ayaan Hirsi Ali. As a filmmaker he became involved in the production of this documentary. “Submission” caused a lot of resentment and anger in Dutch Muslim society. This resulted in serious death threats against both. Hirsi Ali was therefore protected by the police. Van Gogh however refused police protection. It was his daily routine to go to work by bicycle. On November 2, 2004 at 08.30 a.m. he arrived by bicycle in the Linnaeusstraat in Amsterdam. There he was overtaken by a young Muslim named Mohammed Bouyeri. Still riding on his bicycle he shot Theo van Gogh with a pistol. Van Gogh got hit and fell from his bike and tried to flee to the other side of the road. Bouyeri followed him by foot and shot his victim several times. After being hit multiple times Van Gogh fell on the pavement. Bouyeri kneeled down beside Van Gogh and cut his throat. He stuck two knives into the body of Van Gogh and left a letter on the body in which he threatened Ayaan Hirsi Ali. After that he reloaded his pistol and said to a shocked bystander: “So now you know what will happen to you all!” He then walked to the approaching police cars.

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Theo van Gogh; Ayaan Hirsi Ali; Dutch Muslim society


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