Murder in Amsterdam : The Death of Theo Van Gogh and the Limits of Tolerance, Paperback

Murder in Amsterdam : The Death of Theo Van Gogh and the Limits of Tolerance Paperback

3.5 out of 5 (1 rating)


It was an emblematic crime: on a November day in Amsterdam, an angry young Muslim man shot and killed the Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh, iconic European provocateur, for making a movie with the anti-Islam politician Ayaan Hersi Ali.

After shooting van Gogh, Mohammed Bouyeri calmly stood over the body and cut his throat with a curved machete.

The murder horrified quiet, complacent Holland - a country that prides itself on being a bastion of tolerance - and sent shock waves around the world.

In Murder in Amsterdam, Ian Buruma describes what he found when he returned to his native country to try and make sense of van Gogh's death.

The result is Buruma's masterpiece: a brave and rigorous study of conflict in our time, with the intimacy and control of a true-crime page-turner.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Books
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Islam
  • ISBN: 9781843543206



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Mohammed Bouyeri was 26 years old when he not only shot Theo van Gogh several times but slashed his throat with a machete as well. He ended his assault by stabbing a note into Van Gogh's lifeless body - however the final insult was kicking the corpse before calmly walking away. The note, oddly enough, wasn't addressed to Van Gogh (rightly so since the dead man couldn't read it) but to anti-Islam politician Hirsi Ali who claimed the Koran was the source of abuse against women. That's not to say there weren't plenty of folks in Holland who wished Van Gogh dead. He thrived on being controversial to the point of revolting. Buruma knew Van Gogh in certain circles so I can only imagine what it was like to write about his death as an acquaintance. But, the actual crime is only the centerpiece for the much wider topic of controversies surrounding what happens when nonconformist immigrant populations with differing religions and cultural politics clash against other stringent societies.

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