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Arson attack on Danish immigration minister's home after critical remarks about Muslims -family goes into hiding

Dutch Moroccans and Turks protest against new policies limiting immigration
June 15, 2005

MIM: According to newspaper reports a 34 year old Danish man was being held in connection with the arson attack on ther Dutch minister of immigration's home. He is a member of left wing 'immigrant rights' group, and the tactics are reminscent of the murder by a Dutch 'animal rights terrorist' of the prime ministerial candidate Pim Fortuyn in 2002. Fortuyn's killer said he shot him because he 'wanted to harm Muslims' by curtailing the influx of immigrants from Islamic countries into The Netherlands.

Arson highlights Danish tensions

By Thomas Buch-Andersen
BBC News, Copenhagen

Danish police are searching for unknown attackers who set fire to the immigration minister's car.

Rikke Hvilshoj, her husband and two young children were rescued from their house, which also caught fire as a result of the attack.

A group calling itself "Beatte Without Borders" has said it carried out the attack, condemning the government's "racist immigration policy".

The minister and other senior politicians have been assigned guards.


The attack took place at 0300 local time (0100 GMT). Mrs Hvilshoj, 34, was woken up by a "loud bang". When the rescuers arrived, parts of her house were in flames, too.

"I am shaken and angry," she said.

The group that said it carried out the attack sent a statement to various Danish media, which said: "We cannot watch passively, while the official Denmark carries out its racist immigration policy.

"That's why we are taking action now."

The group is unknown, but police have cordoned off the area around the minister's home in an effort to find clues that could lead to their capture.

Harsh punishment

The family has been moved to a secret address. Meanwhile, the minister herself and other of her senior colleagues in the government have been assigned bodyguards.

The attack has come as a shock to Denmark's open society where it is not unusual to see ministers and other public figures go shopping, cycle and live their everyday lives among the rest of the population.

Justice Minister Lene Espersen says that given the fact that there were children in the house, the attackers could get life imprisonment.

The Danish government, which was re-elected in February, has introduced some of Europe's toughest restrictions on immigration, leading to criticism from Europe's human rights watchdog, the Council of Europe.

Nevertheless, the centre-right government insists the measures are right and fair.

Immigration tension

The attack comes less than two weeks after a shooting in Norrebro, another part of Copenhagen, involving members of the immigrant community. A young man was killed by a nightclub bouncer, while another was wounded.

When a leading Muslim cleric, Abu Laban, suggested the hand-over of "blood money" from one family to another as a way to settle the dispute peacefully, the immigration minister rejected the idea as "medieval".

"Nor do we trade camels in Denmark", was Mrs Hvilshoj's response to the idea.

But reports say that the family of the doorman who fired the fatal shot has agreed to move out of Copenhagen as a way to compensate for the killing.

The agreement has been sharply criticised by experts in criminal law who say it is unlawful coercion and goes against the Danish sense of democracy.

Only the courts can resolve murder cases in Denmark.

So, while some Danes are asking the government to loosen the tough immigration restrictions, others fear that parts of those already in the country are developing into a parallel society where ancient traditions threaten Danish law.

Story from BBC NEWS:


Moroccans, Turks rally against Dutch immigration plans

13 June 2005 Expatica News + ANP

AMSTERDAM Moroccan and Turkish groups in the Netherlands have set up a new action committee named "Genoeg is genoeg" (enough is enough) to organise a campaign against the Dutch government's tough immigration and integration policies.

The organisers are calling for a national demonstration on 17 September in Amsterdam. Two spokesmen for the new organisation outlined the plans for the demonstration during a press conference in the Moroccan capital of Rabat on Monday.

Dutch Immigration and Integration Minister Rita Verdonk arrived in Rabat for an official visit on Monday. She toured the Dutch embassy where modifications have been made to house the new integration tests that are
to be introduced for would-be immigrants to the Netherlands.

While there was news on Monday that other European countries are interested in the immigration policies being pioneered by Verdonk, the spokesmen for the new action committee described her policies as discriminatory and racist.

"These policies are creating a greater rift between 'us and them', one of the representatives said.

The 'Genoeg is genoeg' group wanted to hold a demonstration in Rabat to coincide with Verdonk's visit but the authorities did not grant them a permit to do so.

The group says there should be no difference between the treatment of Muslims and non-Muslims.

It argues that the Cabinet's integration plans as well as limitations on family reunification and dual nationality hits at the principle of equal rights for all dutch citizens. "We don't want a separate policy for one group as that leads to Apartheid," one of the spokesmen said.


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