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Mohammed Bouyeri

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Title: Mohammed Bouyeri  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Fitna (film), Theo van Gogh (film director), Religion in the Netherlands, July 2005, Dutch assassins
Collection: 1978 Births, Dutch Assassins, Dutch Criminals, Dutch Islamists, Dutch People Convicted of Murder, Dutch People of Moroccan Descent, Dutch Prisoners Sentenced to Life Imprisonment, Hofstad Network, Islamic Terrorism in the Netherlands, Islamist Assassins, Islamist Terrorism in the Netherlands, Living People, Moroccan People Imprisoned Abroad, Moroccan Prisoners Sentenced to Life Imprisonment, Muslims with Branch Missing, People Convicted of Murder by the Netherlands, People from Amsterdam, Prisoners Sentenced to Life Imprisonment by the Netherlands
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Mohammed Bouyeri

Mohammed Bouyeri
Bouyeri in 2004
Born (1978-03-08) 8 March 1978
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Criminal charge Murder, terrorism
Criminal penalty Life without parole
Criminal status In prison

Mohammed Bouyeri (Arabic: محمد بويري‎) (born 8 March 1978) is a Dutch–Moroccan Islamist and convicted murderer who is serving a life sentence without parole for the assassination of Dutch film director Theo van Gogh. He holds both Dutch and Moroccan citizenship and was a member of the Hofstad Network.


  • Life 1
  • Assassination of Theo van Gogh 2
    • Background 2.1
    • Assassination 2.2
    • Arrest 2.3
    • Trial 2.4
    • Aftermath 2.5
  • In popular culture 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • Further reading 6


In 1995, Mohammed Bouyeri finished his secondary education. He changed his major several times and left after five years without obtaining a degree. A second-generation migrant from Morocco, Bouyeri used the pen name "Abu Zubair" for writing and translating. He often posted letters online and sent e-mails under this name.

At an early age he was known to the police as a member of a group of Moroccan "problem-youth". For a while he worked as a volunteer at Eigenwijks, a neighbourhood organization in Amsterdam's Slotervaart suburb. After his mother died and his father remarried in the fall of 2003, he started to live according to strict interpretations of Islamic Sharia law. As a result, he could perform fewer and fewer tasks at Eigenwijks. For example, he refused to serve alcohol and did not want to be present at activities attended by both women and men. Finally, he put an end to his activities at Eigenwijks altogether. He grew a beard and began to wear a djellaba. He frequently visited the El Tawheed mosque where he met other radical Muslims, among whom was the suspected terrorist Samir Azzouz. With the group of radicals he is said to have formed the Hofstad Network, a Dutch terrorist cell.

Assassination of Theo van Gogh


Filmmaker Theo van Gogh was notorious for his crude insults to "everyone respected in postwar multicultural Dutch society, including Jews and Muslims" but who "also helped bring Muslim actors onto Dutch television."[1] In 2004, he and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali refugee who was a Dutch member of parliament at the time, directed a short film called Submission, Part I about Islam and violence against women. In the film women are shown wearing transparent clothes with verses of the Quran written on their bodies. The film aired in August 2004 on Dutch television in prime time, the ensuing outcry led the Dutch police to offer police protection for both directors, but Van Gogh refused.


The 26-year-old Bouyeri assassinated Van Gogh in the early morning of 2 November 2004, in Amsterdam, in front of the city's East Borough office (stadsdeelkantoor) on the corner of the Linnaeusstraat and Tweede Oosterparkstraat (), while he was bicycling to work.[2] Bouyeri shot Van Gogh eight times with a handgun, who was hit, as were two bystanders. Wounded, Van Gogh ran to the other side of the road and fell to the ground on the cycle lane. According to eyewitnesses, Van Gogh's last words were: "Mercy, mercy! We can talk about it, can't we?"

Bouyeri then walked up to Van Gogh, who was still lying down, and calmly shot him several more times at close range. Bouyeri then cut Van Gogh’s throat and tried to decapitate him with a large knife, after which he stabbed the knife deep into Van Gogh's chest, reaching his spinal cord.[3] He then attached a note to the body with a smaller knife before fleeing. Van Gogh died on the spot.[4]

The written note contained a warning to Ms. Ali, consisting of five pages which make mention of the Jewish political actors in Ms. Ali's party, as well as other parties in Dutch politics. It contains repeated references to Jewish party-backers and party-leaders. The letter refers to the fundamentalist ideology of the Takfir wal-Hijra. This letter probably was not written by Mohammed Bouyeri himself, but by his group's ideologist. It was signed Saifu Deen alMuwahhied.


Shortly afterwards, Bouyeri was arrested close to the scene of the crime, following an exchange of gunfire with police during which he was shot in the leg. In his interrogations, he exercised his Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and others.

When arrested, Bouyeri had on him a farewell poem titled In bloed gedoopt ("Baptized in Blood"), which makes it appear that he intended to die a martyr.


Bouyeri's trial took place over two days, 11 and 12 July 2005, in a high-security building in Amsterdam's Osdorp neighborhood. In a letter on 8 July, he announced that he would not attend the trial voluntarily and that he did not accept its jurisdiction.[5] The prosecutor demanded that he be forcibly transported to the courthouse, which the court granted. Bouyeri's lawyers did attend the trial but did not ask questions or make closing statements. Bouyeri appeared before the court carrying a Qur'an under his arm.[6] At the trial Bouyeri expressed no remorse for the murder he admitted to having done, saying to the victim's mother: "I don’t feel your pain. I don’t have any sympathy for you. I can’t feel for you because I think you’re a non-believer." [7] and that he would have done it again. Bouyeri also argued that "in the fight of the believers against the infidels violence is approved by the prophet Muhammad".[8]


  • Ian Buruma, Murder in Amsterdam: the Death of Theo van Gogh and the Limits of Tolerance (New York: Penguin Press, 2006). ISBN 9781594201080

Further reading

  • 2 November - Death of a filmmaker
  • [2]"Text of the farewell poem" at Indymedia
  • Albert Benschop. Chronicle of a Political Murder Foretold: Jihad in the Netherlands
  • Report of Ruud Peters, an expert witness for the prosecution, "Peters Report" (in Dutch)
  1. ^ a b c d Donadio, Rachel (30 October 2014). "Provocateur’s Death Haunts the Dutch".  
  2. ^ "Gunman kills Dutch film director", BBC, retrieved July 21, 2009.
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Man accused of Van Gogh killing refuses to recognise Dutch court", The Independent
  6. ^ Jan Kanter: "Mohammed B. schweigt", Die Welt, July 12, 2005
  7. ^ Anthony Browne: "Muslim radical confesses to Van Gogh killing in court tirade", The Times, 12 July 2005
  8. ^ Jan Kanter, "Van-Gogh-Mörder hält Attentat für Waffe im Glaubenskampf", Die Welt, February 3, 2006
  9. ^ "Requisitoir in de strafzaak tegen Mohammed B", ("Indictment of the criminal case against Mohammed B"). (Waybacked).
  10. ^ "Life in jail for brutal killer of Dutch film-maker Van Gogh"
  11. ^ "Media Silence on Van Gogh Killer's Islam Views". NIS News. 2007-11-05. Retrieved 2008-03-23. 
  12. ^ Terror on Trial: First hand report on the Hofstadgroep trial by Emerson Vermaat
  13. ^ "Van Gogh killer has no regrets". Dutch News. July 9, 2010. Retrieved July 11, 2010. 
  14. ^ Van Jaarsveldt, Janene (25 September 2014). "Theo van Gogh "Bait" Claims New Documentary". NL Times. 


See also

  • Amsterdam artist Marlene Dumas drew a portrait of Bouyeri in 2005 that has been prominently displayed in the Stedelijk Museum[1]
  • Leon de Winter's bestselling 2012 novel Acts of Kindness features Bouyeri and Van Gogh as characters, with Van Gogh as "a guardian angel protecting children whose school has been the target of a terrorist attack".[1]
  • Journalist Theodor Holman, one of Van Gogh’s best friends, wrote a film in 2014 called 2/11 – Het Spel van de Wolf (a reference to the date Van Gogh was killed, November 2; "The Game of the Wolf") that "posits a far-fetched theory that the CIA was in a way responsible for the murder by pressuring the Dutch secret service not to arrest Mr. Bouyeri—whom Dutch authorities had been monitoring—to use him to get to a bigger fish with ties to Al Qaeda".[1] The film premiered at the Netherlands Film Festival in October 2014 and played on national television on November 2, 2014.[14]

In popular culture

Serving as witness in another court case involving the [12] Six years after the assassination, in a letter to a Muslim group in Belgium, he wrote that he had no regret killing Van Gogh.[13]


He is held in Nieuw Vosseveld prison.


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