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Police Arrest Suspect in Killing of Dutch Filmmaker


The Netherlands' prime minister has appealed for calm following the murder of controversial filmmaker and columnist Theo van Gogh. Police have arrested a suspect who they believe shot and stabbed Mr. van Gogh outside a government building in broad daylight in Amsterdam.

The suspect, who was slightly wounded during a shoot-out at the scene is a 26-year-old man of dual Dutch-Moroccan nationality. He left a note on Theo van Gogh's body, although police will not say what is in it or speculate on a motive.

But Theo van Gogh received death threats since one of his movies about violence against women in Muslim societies was shown on Dutch television earlier this year. It depicted women's bodies with texts from the Koran painted on them, causing an uproar in the Netherland's Islamic community.

The film was made with another controversial Dutch figure, a conservative politician who has renounced her Islamic faith. Both Theo van Gogh and the politician have been receiving police protection since the film's airing - Mr. van Gogh against his will. He recently dismissed the death threats against him in a radio interview, saying his movie is the best protection he has.

The Dutch Prime Minister called Mr. Van Gogh a champion of free speech and said it would be unacceptable if a difference of opinion led to his brutal murder. He urged people not to jump to conclusions.

The European Arab League, which was critical of Mr. Van Gogh's movie, called his murder shocking and horrible. The organization said it is not the way to make people think differently.

This is the first high-profile shooting in the usually calm Netherlands since the assassination of the right-wing, anti-immigration politician Pim Fortuyn two years ago.

Theo Van Gogh had just completed a movie about Pim Fortuyn, which is expected to air next month.