Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Dutch Voices

The BBC reports that three Dutch police officerswere wounded in a grenade explosion during an anti-terror raid on a house in The Hague.

This follows the burning down of a Muslim school in Uden - part of a spate of attacks following the murder of film-maker Theo van Gogh, a critic of Islam. Other attacks have targeted Christian and Muslim buildings across the Netherlands.

The BBC report is linked a vox pop as follows.

Adil Abrini, 31, works in marketing:
"I'm originally from Morocco and now I have the feeling that I'm being looked at as if I've done it, while it's got nothing to do with me.
"I didn't agree with everything he said and you shouldn't always say what you want to say; there are norms and values and you have to have respect for other people."

Eric Hulscher, 39, taxi driver:
"The atmosphere is grim after the murder. You feel strange, especially having seen that attacks [on mosques and an Islamic school] have now taken place.
"It will only get worse, all the talk about integration is a lot of nonsense.
"There's been talk of 'us' and 'them' and that's absolutely right."

Inge van de Panne, 64, social worker:
"It's very tense now and people are afraid - there is a radicalisation in Holland. The situation is explosive.
"We must be reasonable and think before we say things, but I am afraid too, I don't think it's going to get better.
"We have to be very careful."

Radouan Veldmeijer, 21, cook:
"I'm half Moroccan and the atmosphere now in the Netherlands is terrible.
"I was adopted and since I was seven months old I have been brought up by Dutch parents, so for me it’s doubly difficult.
"I'm not a Muslim but since the murder I've been sworn at in the street by skinhead types."

Jan van den Berg, 53, bank worker:
"I just arrived at the station and began to think it's just a matter of time before al-Qaeda involve themselves in this situation and you get something like what happened in Madrid.
"We're known as being very tolerant in the Netherlands but I have the feeling this is an explosion of suppressed emotions."

Diny Helhorst, 64, housewife:
"It's just going to get crazier here and more difficult because people are frightened that something will happen.
"Everyone wonders now what we have to do. I haven’t really got an answer to that - stand together and demonstrate maybe.
"I think the government has to do something."

Lucian Meye, 38, web-designer:
"The Netherlands has been turned upside down by this because of the witch hunt against the Muslim community.
"I don't think that's right, everything shouldn't be bundled together after one person's committed a murder.
"You see after this news that things are being blown out of proportion."

Dennis Werkman, 24, sells advertising space for a publisher:
"Personally there isn't much change for me.
"Discussion about the tensions between the Muslim community and non-Muslim community is to be expected after the murder, but actually we could have seen it coming.
"Tensions have been growing for a while between the communities."

Tanar Ozbek, 20, banking and insurance student:
"There is security around the mosques everywhere and it’s a real shame that things are going this way in the Netherlands.
"I was born here but I'm Turkish and a Muslim. I hear 'Muslims this' and 'Muslims that' and I fall under that - I don’t feel so safe any more even when I'm in a mosque."

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