Netherlands, 2002: Murder of Pym Fortuyn

BBC News, May 6, 2002

Dutch far-right leader shot dead

The Dutch right-wing politician Pim Fortuyn has been shot dead.

Fortuyn, 54, was attacked as he left a radio studio in the central Dutch city of Hilversum. He was shot six times and suffered multiple wounds in the head, chest and neck, and died shortly afterwards ...

Eyewitnesses say a single gunman shot Fortuyn as he got into a chauffeur-driven limousine in the media park where the radio station is located.

Television reporter Dave Abspoel said four people chased the gunman, who apparently fired in their direction ...

She said that the Dutch media and politicians have reacted with shock to an attack which is unprecedented in Dutch politics ...

In an interview last week, Fortuyn expressed fears that he could be the victim of an attack and said that he had received threats by phone, e-mail and letter.

A few weeks ago, protesters threw two cream pies laced with urine in his face.

BBC News, May 9, 2002

Pim Fortuyn: Man of paradox

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands -- Dutch maverick politician Pim Fortuyn was a colourful figure in what many voters complained was a bland political landscape in the Netherlands.

The 54-year-old courted controversy with his robust style, being blunt, outspoken and flamboyant, an approach formerly unseen in Dutch politics.

The former Marxist, sociology lecturer and newspaper columnist stood out with his shaven-head and bright, colourful ties and was also conspicuous travelling around in a car with blacked-out windows.

Proudly homosexual, he spoke out against immigration and high taxation and accused the Dutch government of poor performance.

He also described Islam as a "backward culture" in his book, Against the Islamicisation of Our Culture.

He attracted a wide following, but was shot dead just nine days before a scheduled May 15 election in which opinion polls had forecast his newly-formed Lijst Pim Fortuyn party, which won a stunning 35 percent in local elections in Rotterdam in March, would get between 25 and 28 seats in the 150-member parliament, at the expense of the socialists.

In November last year he became leader of the Leefbaar (livable) Nederland party. He guided the party to the right, but in February he was expelled after criticising Muslims in the newspaper De Volkskrant, and suggesting an article in the Dutch constitution banning discrimination should be changed.

Although Fortuyn was part of a new wave of Dutch politicians and often perceived as an extremist, he insisted he was not like Jean-Marie Le Pen and wanted nothing to do with the French far-right leader.

He was at pains to point out that he was not against immigrants, but he questioned their ability to assimilate into a liberal and racially tolerant culture and argued immigration had to be curbed in order for the Netherlands' liberal social values to survive.

"My policies are multi-ethnic and certainly not racist," he said. "I want to stop the influx of new immigrants. This way, we can give those who are already here the opportunity to fully integrate into our society."

In a recent interview, he argued: "In Holland, homosexuality is treated the same way as heterosexuality. In what Islamic country does this happen?"

Fortuyn's platform seemed out of place in the ultra-liberal Netherlands, which he argued was full up with 16 million people.

While not advocating deportation, he criticised the country's estimated 800,000 Muslims for not embracing Dutch life and said government benefits should be restricted to Dutch speakers.

Though tolerant of such subcultures, Fortuyn targeted a deep vein of suspicion of immigrants and also blamed them for a rising crime wave.

He said: "I'm not anti-Muslim. I'm not anti-immigrant. I'm saying we've got big problems in our cities.

"It's not very smart to make the problems bigger by letting in millions more immigrants from rural Muslim cultures that don't assimilate. This country is bursting. I think 16 million people is quite enough."

Fortuyn also cautioned about the expansion of the European Union to include Eastern European countries, and lamented the loss of Dutch national identity within the EU.

Sydney Morning Herald, March 29, 2003

Killer tells court Fortuyn was dangerous

A left-wing activist has confessed in court to the Netherlands' first political assassination in 400 years, saying he shot the maverick Pim Fortuyn to defend Dutch Muslims from persecution.

Volkert van der Graaf, 33, a vegan animal rights activist, said on Thursday that he alone was responsible for killing the flamboyant gay protest leader last May, days before elections in which the Fortuyn List party vaulted into second place and shattered the Netherlands' consensus.

Facing a raucous court on the first day of his murder trial, he said his goal was to stop Mr Fortuyn exploiting Muslims as "scapegoats" and targeting "the weak parts of society to score points" to try to gain political power. He said: "He was an ever growing danger who would affect many people in society. I saw it as a danger. I hoped that I could solve it myself."

... a former Marxist professor who mixed left-wing and right-wing ideas.

Mr Fortuyn, a shaven-headed cigar chomper who used to sweep across Rotterdam in a chauffer-driven Daimler with two King Charles spaniels, relished mocking political correctness, but rarely ventured into the animal rights dispute.

His chief hates were militant imams who condoned violence against women and the persecution of gays and lesbians. He said the emergence of big Muslim ghettoes in Rotterdam, Amsterdam, and The Hague resisting assimilation threatened the Netherlands' liberal society and national cohesion.

His murder stunned the country. Thousands lined up outside the Rotterdam Stadhuis to sign a condolence book.

A quote from Pym Fortuyn:

"I don't hate Islam. I consider it a backward culture. I have travelled much in the world. And wherever Islam rules, it's just terrible. All the hypocrisy. It's a bit like those old Reformed Protestants. The Reformed lie all the time. And why is that? Because they have norms and values that are so high that you can't humanly maintain them. You also see that in that Muslim culture. Then look at the Netherlands. In what country could an electoral leader of such a large movement as mine be openly homosexual? How wonderful that that's possible. That's something that one can be proud of. And I'd like to keep it that way, thank you very much."

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