Netherlands: A spate of anti-Muslim bombings and attacks

Socialists call for workers and youth protests

A spate of anti-Muslim and racist attacks across the Netherlands has shocked Dutch workers and youth. The attacks follow the killing, on 2 November, of the controversial film director and journalist, Theo van Gogh, allegedly by an Islamic fundamentalist.

The director was well known for his derogatory and provocative statements against Muslims and other minorities.

Offensief (cwi in Netherlands) condemned the killing of Theo van Gogh and also the attacks on Muslims. Muslims and minorities will suffer the most as a result of the killing of Theo van Gogh, as they come under police harassment and face racist attacks.

An Islamic school in the southern city of Eindhoven was bombed on 7 November. Mosques in several Dutch cities have been the targets of vandalism and arson attempts. Attacks against Muslims took place in Amsterdam, Breda and Huizen.

The right wing Dutch coalition government has "vowed to take tough action against Muslim militants". It aims to cynically use the death of Theo van Gogh and anti-Muslim feelings to cut across the recent huge anti-austerity cuts movement. But it is the politicians that have created the conditions for the rise in racism with cuts, right wing demagogy, and by scapegoating of immigrants for society’s social ills

Offensief calls for the workers’ movement to lead a campaign against racist attacks, against cuts, and for democratic rights. The workers’ movement must immediately condemn racist attacks and take action to unite the working class, including holding meetings in workplaces, communities, schools and colleges.

Protest action, including public rallies and strike action, should be taken against racist attacks and government cuts, and for democratic rights. Anti-racist measures must be taken in workplaces to stop racist and religious divisions deepening. A socialist programme against cuts and racism, and for jobs, houses, good health care, and education, is urgently needed.

Offensief member, and councillor for the broad left Socialist Party, in the southern town of Breda, Johan Kwisthout, is calling for a demonstration of workers’ solidarity after a mosque in the town was attacked. Socialists in schools and colleges in Rotterdam, Amsterdam, and several other areas, are discussing organising similar protest action.

More reports will follow.

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November 2004