Jewish Mayor of Amsterdam Seeks to Soothe Muslim-Christian Tensions

April 25, 2005

Source: The New York Times

On April 25, 2005 The New York Times reported, "Job Cohen is not just the mayor of Amsterdam, the brash and boisterous Dutch capital. He is also a calm, somewhat reserved Jewish intellectual who has made it his task to keep the peace between the city's Muslims and Christians...As a thriving port, this city of 750,000 has always had a cultural and racial mix, but never at today's ratio, with one in three people of non-Western descent. Last November, Amsterdam was shaken by Islamic militancy. Theo van Gogh, a well-known local filmmaker, was shot and his throat was slit. A Dutch-Moroccan man has confessed. Since the killing, which caused much outrage and a spate of fire bombings of mosques and churches in the country, Mr. Cohen, 57, has become as much moderator as he is mayor. He takes pride in the fact that no violence or arson has occurred in Amsterdam in response to the killing, but he concedes that social peace is far from assured. So he moves around, visiting various ethnic groups, organizing debates among religious leaders, listening to them and promoting dialogue."