Dutch PM stresses communal harmony

Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende has visited a mosque to underline the importance of dialogue between the various communities in the Netherlands.

    Balkenende's (L) mosque visit comes amid high tensions

    The prime minister's visit to the mosque in Eindhoven on Sunday came as tensions ran high in the Netherlands over the 2 November murder of controversial filmmaker Theo van Gogh, allegedly by an Islamist radical.

    Balkenende was presented with a bunch of tulips at the mosque, which he said symbolised that "we feel at home here".

    Arson

    There has been a wave of attacks on mosques and Islamic schools since Van Gogh's murder. The most serious was on an Islamic school in Eindhoven in the south-east of the country, where a bomb exploded at dawn on Monday.

    Police said fire that destroyed a wooden mosque at Helden early on Sunday was probably criminal.

    There have also been several attacks on churches.

    A school at Heerlen in the south of the country was fire-bombed overnight on Saturday without causing any damage, police said.

    The school was not an Islamic school, and it was unclear whether the incident was connected to the other attacks.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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