By Karima Rhanem | Morocco TIMES 7/27/2005 | 3:47 pm
Dutch prosecutors said Wednesday they will charge Mohammed Bouyeri, a Dutchman of Moroccan descent who was sentenced to life prison for killing controversial film maker Theo van Gogh, as a member of an Islamic terror network, the Hofstad, believed to have plotted attacks against politicians.
Bouyeri, 27, was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment on Tuesday for van Gogh's murder, which judges ruled was an act of terrorism since it was motivated by a radical Islamic cause.
Prosecutors said he would now be tried alongside about a dozen other alleged Hofstad members, a network rounded up in the weeks following Van Gogh's assassination. Prosecutors say the group was plotting to kill Parliament members Geert Wilders and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, both fierce critics of radical Islam.
The trial of the Hofstad suspects arrested after Van Gogh's death is not expected to start until the end of the year.
During his trial, Bouyeri refused to recognize the court, telling judges only that he wanted the maximum sentence and would do "exactly the same again" if freed.
The killing has been linked to the short film "Submission" made by Van Gogh with the collaboration of Hirsi Ali, in which violence against women in Muslim society is highlighted.
The film, which shows a near-naked woman with Koranic texts on her body, outraged many Muslims around the world. Hirsi Ali, a Muslim 'apostate', has also drawn the wrath of the Muslim community for her outspoken criticism of Muslim society.
Van Gogh's murder set off a chain of arson attacks on mosques and tit-for-tat attacks on churches in the Netherlands. It also brought new life to a debate over the assimilation of some million Muslims from Morocco and Turkey into Dutch society.
A Dutch MP called on the Ministry of Justice to put El Bouyeri in an individual cell to make sure he wouldn't spread his fundamentalist ideas among the prisoners.
Meanwhile, the mayor of Amsterdam said he hoped that stability and security would prevail again in the city.
However, Khadija Arib, a Dutch MP of Moroccan descent, told Morocco Times that the life sentence against El Bouyeri will not change the bad situation of Moroccan and Muslim communities in Holland.
“Coexistence between the Dutch and Muslim communities living in Holland needs some time before getting back to normal,” said Arib.
Arib added that Dutch Moroccan Muslims were expecting this kind of sentence against El Bouyeri, because they considered it a crime, and that Islam has nothing to do with it. She also added that the Moroccan community has suffered from what El Bouyeri did because it has negatively affected the community.