Thursday, November 01, 2007

Dutch Riots: Too Much Tolerance of Intolerance?

A disturbing picture of a deteriorating situation that has attracted little notice outside Holland:

Published 30 Oct 07
International Desk

By Abigail R. Esman
World Defense Review columnist

Riots and Radicals Rising in the Netherlands

For six nights running (as I write this; it may be more by the time you read it), Moroccan youth in the Slotervaart neighborhood have burned cars, busted windows, and brought mayhem to the streets. But unless you're one of those people who follow these things closely, you may not have heard about it yet: the events haven not received much play in the media outside Holland. The chaos hasn't reached the level yet of the Paris riots in 2005; perhaps it just doesn't seem important enough for foreign press to bother with.

But it is important, in part because it comes only days after a multicultural festival in the Hague also ended in a riot, as 200 or more Moroccan youth threw stones and other objects at policemen. Why? Because the time allotted for the Moroccan band had ended and it was another ethnic group's turn to play.

In Amsterdam, the cause is something different altogether. On the morning of October 14, 22-year-old Bilal Bajaka, a Dutch-Moroccan who lived in the area, entered a local mosque and asked directions to the nearest police station. It wasn't far.

At 11:30 a.m., Bajaka entered the police headquarters on the August Alleb├ęplein, leapt across the counter, grabbed a female police officer and stabbed her in the chest. As she tried to free herself, he plunged his knife into her back, perforating a lung. He then lunged at a male colleague, stabbing him in the throat, shoulders, and back. As the two men wrestled, the wounded woman drew her gun and fired. Seconds later, Bajaka lay dead on the police department floor.


As it turned out, this was not Bajaka's first encounter with the Amsterdam police. He'd been arrested earlier, and was known already to have connections to the Hofstadgroep, Holland's largest home-grown terror network to which Mohammed Bouyeri, who slaughtered filmmaker Theo van Gogh in 2004, also belongs. According to Dutch intelligence records, Bouyeri once paid a visit to Bilal, and Bouyeri's cohort, Samir Azzuz, is known to have met several times with Bilal's brother, Abdullah, probably concerning the acquisition of illegal weapons and explosives.

That's not all. In October, 2005, Dutch intelligence reported that Azzouz, Bilal and Abdullah had planned to shoot down an El Al plane at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport. (It is not known exactly what went wrong.) Abdullah was arrested and released within ten days. Bilal himself received no sentence.

This past August, after a slew of smaller crimes, a judge ordered that Bilal Bajaka be admitted to a psychiatric center for treatment of what his parents now say was schizophrenia. Over the next few months, he escaped the center several times before doctors officially released him, maintaining that he posed not threat either to himself or others. On October 11, three days before the stabbing, he checked himself in again.

Then he left... (more)

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