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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 November 2005, 09:33 GMT
Killed director van Gogh honoured
Theo van Gogh
Theo van Gogh was shot and stabbed to death in Amsterdam
The first anniversary of the murder of Dutch director Theo van Gogh has been marked by politicians, relatives and religious leaders in the Netherlands.

The late director, 47, a strong critic of radical Islam, was shot and stabbed while cycling through Amsterdam.

In July 27-year-old radical Islamist Mohammed Bouyeri was sentenced to life in prison for van Gogh's murder.

Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende addressed an audience of hundreds on the pavement where van Gogh was killed.

Tolerant image

"The murder impinges on everything that is dear to us in the Netherlands," Mr Balkenende said. "Violence is not the way."

Cactuses and a toy tiger were placed near the speaker's podium, a tribute to the director's courageous artistic nature, while some mourners carried flowers.

The murder of van Gogh, a distant relative of 19th Century painter Vincent van Gogh, shook the Netherlands, which has an image as a tolerant, peaceful country.

Mohammed Bouyeri
Mohammed Bouyeri was arrested shortly after killing van Gogh
It also set off a chain of attacks on Muslim buildings, followed by retaliatory attacks on Christian churches.

Bouyeri said he murdered the director out of religious conviction and that he would kill again in the name of Islam if given a chance.

After killing van Gogh, Bouyeri pinned a five-page manifesto to the director's chest with the knife he had used to stab him. In it he threatened a number of politicians and a lawyer.

Muslim stories

Van Gogh's documentary, Submission, was broadcast three months before his death. It told the fictional stories of four Muslim women who suffered physical and sexual abuse.

Verses from the Koran were superimposed on the bodies of near-naked women, in scenes many Muslims found deeply offensive.

The Netherlands is home to nearly one million Muslims or 5.5% of the population.

Hirsi Ali, who wrote the script for Submission, spent months in hiding after van Gogh's murder.

"I think it is going to be a long time before I understand what happened and come to terms with it," she said.


SEE ALSO:
Van Gogh films 'will be re-made'
14 Sep 05 |  Entertainment
Van Gogh killer jailed for life
26 Jul 05 |  Europe
Life of slain Dutch film-maker
02 Nov 04 |  Entertainment
Firth movie keeps explicit rating
08 Sep 05 |  Entertainment
Firth departs from romantic roles
13 May 05 |  Entertainment
In pictures: 'Where the Truth Lies'
14 May 05 |  In Pictures


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