Rethinking “Radicalization”: Dutch Researcher Discusses What Makes a Homegrown Terrorist

On Nov. 2, 2004, Dutch filmmaker and writer Theo van Gogh left his home and set off to work, riding his bicycle as he did most days through the quiet streets of Amsterdam.

Minutes later, 26-year-old Mohammed Bouyeri, a Dutch-Moroccan Muslim angered by van Gogh’s writings and films about radical Islam, fired eight shots at the filmmaker. As Van Gogh stumbled, Bouyeri shot again, then stabbed him with a butcher knife, piercing straight through his chest. Then he sliced across Theo van Gogh’s throat in a failed effort to decapitate him before stabbing him one final time. It was, as many later said, the country’s 9/11, the arrival of Islamist terrorism to the tranquil tulip fields and calm canals of the Netherlands.

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