Dutch mosques frequently target of violent vandals

As many as 174 of the 475 mosques in the Netherlands were attacked by vandals over the last ten years, according to University of Amsterdam researcher Ineke van der Valk. The statistic is dramatically different from the 1980s and 1990s, when you could count the number of abusive attacks on one hand, she told the Volkskrant.

The turning point, she says, was the murder of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh at the hands of an Islamic extremist in 2004. Van Gogh was killed by Mohammed B. the same year Van Gogh directed and produced the short film Submission, a criticism on the treatment of women in Islam.

Since then, there are typically over ten attacks per year, including anti-Muslim graffiti, smashing of windows and even an offensive display of a pig's head. In her most recent survey of 86 mosques, she found that 58 had experienced some sort of abusive incident, with about 20 of those happening in the past year.

"After the murder of Van Gogh there was an increase, and the previous year there was another peak during the rise of the terrorism group IS," Van der Valk told the newspaper.

Her research was reported just a day after a group supporting anti-Islam political party PVV called for people to set mosques in the Netherlands on fire.