Christian and Muslim leaders have called for peace amid attacks on both mosques and churches. The violence comes in the aftermath of the funeral for Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh, who was murdered November 2 by an Islamic extremist.
"The violence, the aggression must stop," said Jan-Gerd Heetderks, president of the Protestant Church in the Netherlands. "And that goes for people who get the idea that they should damage Muslim mosques or schools, too."
An Islamic leader agreed. "This is a negative spiral that's threatening to turn into attack and counterattack," said Mohammed Sini, the head of Citizens and Islam.
"There's a risk that we'll have an unbridgeable 'us and them' opposition between parts of the population, and that's something that can't happen."
The Netherlands's population of about 16 million people includes some 900,000 Muslims.
A fire damaged an Islamic primary school in the southern Dutch town of Uden. In Rotterdam, a Plymouth Brethren church was targeted by vandals.
Van Gogh, 47, had received death threats for a film he made criticizing how Islam treats women. A Muslim man shot and stabbed van Gogh, who was cycling on an Amsterdam street. The killer cut van Gogh's throat and left a note threatening further attacks in the name of Islam.
"I am very concerned about the hardening of society in the Netherlands," Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, a Christian, said in a television interview. "We all need each other. At the moment, we are acting in a very non-Dutch way."
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Christianity Today Moviesreported on Theo Van Gogh's murder.
News elsewhere includes:
Attacks harden Dutch attitudes | Head teacher Jeanne van der Voort was at home watching television when she got the news that her school was on fire. (BBC, Dec. 1, 2004)
Europe tries to sharpen antiterror efforts | European countries are adopting tougher tactics to combat terrorism, but cooperation remains a challenge. (The Christian Science Monitor, Dec. 01, 2004)
Dutch immigration, the death of multiculturalism | The murder of a controversial Dutch filmmaker earlier this month has accelerated efforts to integrate the country's Islamic minority into the Dutch mainstream - and probably spells the end of any official policy to promote cultural diversity. Part one in a series. (ISN, Switzerland, Nov. 29, 2004)
Muslim 'Submission' writer speaks out from hiding | Now, women's rights advocate Ayaan Hirsi Ali has gone into hiding after a death threat against her was pinned to the body of murdered filmmaker Theo van Gogh. (Ireland Online, Nov 27, 2004)
Belgium to screen van Gogh's last film | The last film made by murdered Dutch film maker Theo van Gogh will be shown in Belgian cinemas at the end of February. (Expatica, Netherlands, Nov 26, 2004)
Muslim-secular rift deepens in Netherlands | A yawning religious and racial chasm has opened in the Netherlands in the two weeks since a Muslim apparently killed a secular Dutch filmmaker. (UPI, Nov. 19, 2004)
Netherlands struggles to make peace with Muslim minority | Theo van Gogh was a kind of high-brow Howard Stern, a clown-provocateur who called one Muslim activist "Mohammed's pimp," and routinely dismissed others as devotees of sex with goats. (Knight Ridder Newspapers, Nov 23, 2004)
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