Amsterdam mayor visits neighborhood where intern was killed: lots of work to do
Mayor Jozias van Aartsen visited the Oostelijke Eilanden district in Amsterdam on Wednesday. 17-year-old Mohammed Bouchkhi was killed and two others were hurt in a shooting at a community center in the area last week. There's a lot of work to be done in the area, the mayor concluded after speaking with the victims' families and local residents, NU.nl reports.
"A lot of attention has to be paid to the children who where there. Both from victim support and from schools here", Van Aartsen said."Because today's children will soon be ten years older and this should not be a reason to give rise to problems later on."
According to the mayor, there is "a lot of mourning" in the neighborhood. "Certainly the Moroccan community feels like a victim, also after a previous murder here. I understand that very well." He added that there is a massive need for solidarity in the neighborhood.
Van Aartsen visited the community center on Grote Wittenburgerstraat, where Mohammed was killed on Friday night. He worked there as an intern. It is believed that he was not the intended target of the shooting. Two others were injured, a 20-year-old woman and 19-year-old Gianni L. The young man was also injured in another shooting in the neighborhood in November. In that shooting a 19-year-old man was killed and three people were injured.
Residents of the district were still reeling from the shooting on Thursday, telling the NL Times they hoped this tragedy will finally push Amsterdam into addressing neighborhood issues and violent crime in the city as a whole. One local mother acknowledged that the city may be less experienced in dealing with these issues compared to other major cities around the world.
“But maybe that’s a good thing. We can deal with this with a gentler touch,” she said, pointing out a new police post set up near the Oosterkerk. “I don’t know, but anyway I’m optimistic.”
Her partner said he wanted the Netherlands to be more socially accepting of people from an ethnic minority background. He agreed that two of the broader issues are a lack of economic opportunity for minorities, who are often denied decent jobs because of culture, race and religion, and also a confusing drug policy that has led to several dozen attempted street assassinations around the country in recent years.
Hundreds of people gathered in the Nasr Mosque on Wednesday afternoon for a memorial service for Mohammed. The 17-year-old boy will be buried in Morocco later this week.
The police are investigating the shooting. They call on witnesses to come forward.