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.
Mohammed Bouyeri acted alone, but he was a leading member of what later became known as the Hofstadgroep (Hofstad Group), a loosely-knit circle of Dutch Muslim youth from Amsterdam and The Hague with extremist ideas and half-hatched plans to execute terrorist attacks around the country. In the days following Van Gogh's death, police raided a home in The Hague, arresting seven Hofstadgroep members after a standoff lasting several hours.