Theo van Gogh was killed for his views and support of freedom
Theo van Gogh, the Dutch artist's great grand-nephew and a provocative filmmaker, was shot dead in a street in Amsterdam yesterday, police said, apparently because of a film he made about Islamic violence against women.
Van Gogh, 47, was stabbed and then shot several times by a man who witnesses said arrived on a bicycle as the film-maker was getting out of his car outside council offices in the Linnaeusstraat, in the east of the city, at 8.45am, a city police spokeswoman, Elly Florax, said. He was dead by the time ambulances arrived.
The suspected killer, a 26-year-old man with dual Dutch and Moroccan nationality, fled into the nearby Oosterpark and was later arrested after a gunfight with police that left an officer and a bystander wounded. The man was last night under police guard in hospital, being treated for gunshot wounds to the leg.
As the Dutch prime minister, Jan Peter Balkenende, appealed for calm, one witness told Dutch media that the suspect had a long beard and was wearing Islamic or Arabic garb. The Amsterdam public prosecutor said the man had left a letter on Van Gogh's body, but declined to reveal its content until technical and forensic tests had been completed, informs the Guardian Unlimited.
According to the Scotsman, in a report by the Dutch national broadcaster NOS, an unidentified witness who lives in the neighbourhood said she heard six shots and saw a man concealing a gun. She said he walked away slowly, spoke to someone at the edge of the park and then ran. She added that he was wearing a long beard and Islamic garb and appeared to be Arabic or disguised as a Muslim.
Another unidentified witness told Dutch Radio 1 that the killer arrived by bicycle and shot van Gogh as he got out of a car. "He fell backward on the bicycle path and just laid there. The shooter stayed next to him and waited. Waited to make sure he was dead," the witness added.
The killing, which has been widely condemned by Muslim groups, could raise the political temperature in the Netherlands, where security for politicians was stepped up after the killing of the anti-immigration populist Pim Fortuyn ahead of the May 2002 election.
Mr van Gogh, who made a controversial film about Islamic culture, was shot dead as he cycled through the city.
Police say they have arrested a man with joint Dutch-Moroccan nationality.
Instead of holding a wake, protesters were asked by Mr van Gogh's family to make as much noise as possible in support of freedom of speech.
People banged on pots and pans, car horns were honked and whistles blown in response, publishes BBC News.