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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 November, 2004, 21:43 GMT
'Islamist' held in Van Gogh case
Mourner leaves flowers at home of Theo van Gogh
Mourners have been leaving flowers at van Gogh's home
The man suspected of killing Dutch film maker Theo van Gogh is a suspected radical Islamist with alleged terrorist links, the Dutch authorities say.

The man, aged 26, with dual Dutch and Moroccan citizenship, had "radical Islamic fundamentalist convictions," Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner said.

Van Gogh, who had made a controversial film about Islamic culture, was shot and stabbed in Amsterdam on Tuesday.

Police say they have arrested a further eight men in connection with the death.

The 26-year-old suspect was allegedly a friend of a detained Moroccan terror suspect.

Samir Azzouz, 18, is awaiting trial on charges of planning a terrorist attack on targets including a nuclear reactor and Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport.

But the suspected killer of Theo van Gogh did not belong to the hardcore group of around 150 suspected militants under surveillance by the intelligence services.

Police say six of the eight people detained are Moroccan, one is Algerian and one has joint Moroccan-Spanish nationality.

"We are investigating if these eight people are connected to the murder of Van Gogh or connected to the main suspect in the murder," said police official Dop Kruimel.


The government held late-night crisis meetings amid fears the killing could exacerbate Dutch race relations.

Dutch film maker Theo van Gogh
Van Gogh directed TV series and wrote newspaper columns
About 20,000 people attended a memorial gathering for the 47-year-old film maker in Amsterdam on Tuesday. Among them were many Muslims, to demonstrate that they condemned the killing.

Van Gogh was shot and stabbed to death as he cycled in broad daylight through an Amsterdam street.

Two knives were left in his body, one pinning a note to his chest, said by Dutch media to contain lines from the Koran.

Death threats

He had received death threats after his film Submission was shown on Dutch TV. It triggered an outcry from Dutch Muslims.

The film portrayed violence against women in Islamic societies - in one scene an actress in see-through garments was shown with Koranic script written on her body, which also bore whip marks.

Mr Van Gogh - who was related to the famous Dutch painter - had also been making a film about Pim Fortuyn, the populist right-wing, anti-immigration politician assassinated in May 2002.

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

Thousands gather in Amsterdam to remember Theo van Gogh

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