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Thursday, 16 May, 2002, 10:18 GMT 11:18 UK
Fortuyn killing: A political watershed?
Polls suggest that the Pim Fortuyn list, a party created by the maverick politician Pim Fortuyn, can come fourth in the Dutch general election and form a ruling coalition with the Christian Democrats.

The popularity of the anti-immigration Fortuyn list soared after its leader, former journalist and active pro-integration campaigner Pim Fortuyn, was shot in what is said to be a politically motivated assassination.

Pim Fortuyn had courted controversy by campaigning on the grounds that many immigrants did not accept the liberal values he himself represented.

What do you think? Are the recent events a watershed in a country where politics is usually peaceful and such killings unprecedented?

Are there wider implications as far-right parties make advances across the continent? Or will Dutch and European politics emerge unchanged from this shocking assassination?

This Talking Point has now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

I believe that the murder of Pim Fortuyn is an assault to freedom as grave as suicide attacks 9-11. Although I do not know a lot of Fortuyn, some of his statements might be argued, but it seems to me that he was not an extremist at all. He spoke out what many think - and say privately: every country asks from its immigrants to accept the core values and contribute to the society. In politics today those who do not adjust to political correctness are immediately dealt with a label of the press from the moral high ground. It's meant to be a political death sentence. Pim Fortuyn's death will have far-reaching consequences, and could be a barrier to anybody with a free mind and the will to use it.
Klaus, Switzerland (Expat)

A lot of uninformed nonsense being spouted and all have fallen into the trap of focusing on the "race" element of Fortuyn's policies. Anyone who took the trouble to examine the rest of his manifesto will appreciate that some of his more mundane ideas were completely bonkers and, should he have succeeded at the ballot box, he would have be exposed in government as his "party" most definitely will be. Ross Perot, anyone?
Paul, Netherlands

Gobsmacked, was the word I used when I heard that Pim Fortuyn had been shot dead. Although Dutch politics is not the highest priority on my list, this man stood out from the rest of many politicians, Dutch, English or otherwise. Why? Because he spoke out for what he believed in and had the guts to say what most people only think about saying.
Jayne (expat), Eindhoven Netherlands

Fortuyn fielded more Muslim Turkish and Moroccan candidates for the coming election than any other Dutch party

SW, Amsterdam
Pim Fortuyn was not a racist and his party did not stand on the platform of anti-immigration - rather it was a political reformist party. Yes, it had a policy on immigration (as most parties do), but study the policy and you will soon realise that (like many of his other policies) it is modelled on the UK and US systems. Fortuyn NEVER singled out Islamic immigrants as 'undesirables' - he simply wanted new immigrants to be 'net-contributors' to the Dutch economy. Just as a byline: Fortuyn fielded more Muslim Turkish and Moroccan candidates for the coming election than any other Dutch party - including the Pvda (socialists). How extremist of him!
SW, Amsterdam, Netherlands

However tragic and unfortunate the assassination of Pim Fortuyn, it would be naive to say that this assassination will have taken away the innocence of Dutch Politics. The innocence of Dutch politics disappeared as soon as the 'Pim Fortuyn'style of politics emerged.
Imran Ahmad, The Netherlands

This is one of the most revolting and terrifying acts played out on the world stage I can remember. No matter which side of politics you follow the murder of a man whose crime was to voice his opinions should revolt and unify everyone. So much for the safety of "free speech"! Have we forgotten what a privilege it is to live in a democracy? It might be one of the few things left worth fighting for in this world, I know others in countries who would die for what we have.
Gareth J, United Kingdom

There was more to Fortuyn then his views on immigration

Martijn, Netherlands
I think it is a shame that Pim Fortuyn is being portrayed as being a far right extremist. Even as I read some of the reaction on this site I see him being compared to Hitler and other far right politicians. It is unfair and unjust. In this respect I absolutely do not understand the reactions from some of the Americans on this site, since the US policy on immigration is far stricter than Fortuyn's proposed policy. Fortuyn's views with regard to immigration had to do with the failure of the current immigrant integration policy by the current Dutch government. He wanted to first of all focus on the integration of the immigrants who already live in Holland.

The fact that a lot of 'foreign' Dutch people were planning to vote for him should tell you that in Holland he was not considered a right extremist. Furthermore, there was more to Fortuyn then his views on immigration. What the rise of Fortuyn was about was the fact that the current Dutch political establishment has alienated a lot of people from politics, Fortuyn single-handedly managed to get people interested in politics again by encouraging debate and discussion. I think you also have to see this in the light of the current Dutch political situation, where the discussion on all political issues is held privately after which the compromise is presented to the public. I think if everyone took the time to find out what this man was really about, these unjust comparisons would not be made.
Martijn, Netherlands

Another nail in the coffin of freedom of speech.
William Stevens, UK/Singapore

What's apparent from this forum is that the man's supporters can't agree on whether he was liberal or right-wing but can agree that they support his anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant stance. Given the Dutch colonial past of which the Afrikaner proponents of apartheid were the most famous examples, I believe that the Dutch are hardly in a position to throw accusations at Muslim immigrants who while trying to succeed economically have hardly tried to take over the country as a minority and impose discriminatory rule upon the natives or force them to convert.

It is doubly ironic when someone writes from the US echoing similar sentiments while living in a land from which most traces of the original inhabitants have been wiped out and the remaining few Native Americans have been reduced to living in Bantustans out in the middle of the most uninhabitable lands by the original "tolerant Christian" immigrants who have done their best to wipe out the culture and religion of their hosts. As far as the discussion about tolerance and religious extremism is concerned, its fair to point out that the major portion of the Western world's problems with Islam stem from the fundamentalist Christian and Jewish mindsets that believe that God gave them the right to land on which Muslims happened to be living. If there had been Buddhists living there, there would have been similar slander against Buddhism right now.

It looks like the so called "free press" of the west is glorifying Mr. Fortuyn after his assassination. This only gives credibility to his racist views. Or perhaps they do agree with what he stood for. The underlying assumption that all the ills of Europe are because of immigrants! I can only imagine the 'righteous anger' if the assassin had been a recently arrived immigrant from Asia or Africa.
Roshan, India

Although I am an immigrant myself from a Muslim country, I agree with Mr Fortuyn's ideas that people who come to another country must try to assimilate. I have a friend from a Latin American country who has been in the US for more than 20 years. He recently lost his job and his main and probably the only reason he had a hard time finding a job, was that his English was not good for the jobs he interviewed. I was even told by a person who knew the supervisor that interviewed him. I think Mr Fortuyn's message is something that all European leaders should listen to. It is in the long run benefit of the immigrants. It is a tragedy that a political murder brought this issue to surface.
Reza Vahab, USA

If he was such a good man, he would have been more concerned about helping the people he was trying to keep out than 'preserving cultural identity', the meaningless phrase used by racists to hamper their real intent: keeping wealth exclusive and taking pleasure in the suffering and oppression of people different in skin colour or nationality to them. All the right wingers in here can kick and scream all they want but we all know that people like Fortuyn start small and before we know it millions of innocents are being harassed and killed. Facism must continue to be nipped in the bud and stopped pre-emptively.
Amoroso Gombe, Kenya

Murder is inexcusable

Maggie, USA
The best way to kill off a politician's career is to not vote for him (or her). Murder is inexcusable and with the barbarism that we, as a planet, must witness everyday it leaves me with very little hope for the future.
Maggie, USA

The death of Pim Fortuyn, like other murders, is a tragedy indeed. However, a greater tragedy is the growing popularity of his radical views. How can an individual preach about Europe's tolerance by being so intolerant of others? Mr Fortuyn's views railing against immigration and Islam are based on a culture of fear and hate. Is this the culture of Europe? The support that he and others like him have received underscore dark horizons for Europe. Through its support of the ultra right, Europe is undermining the very foundations which it worked so hard to achieve. This is a tragedy far greater than the untimely death of one very hateful man.
Oktay Kesebi, Canada

To Oktey Kesebi in Canada. It seems that you have drawn your information from sensationalised media reports rather than looking at Fortuyn's policies first hand. His policies were not born out of hatred for other cultures, they derived from his love of Dutch/European culture. Perhaps you could only understand this if you were European. Fortuyn was certainly not a dark extremist as you seem to imply, his policies were not based on a desire to deport immigrants, rather he wished to fully integrate existing immigrants and close off the borders to additional immigrants. His death is a tragedy from a European perspective because he was one of the few politicians who was willing to speak out about issues that other politicians do their best to avoid. It is high time that people stopped playing the race card, Fortuyn's line of politics is based on a logical view that it is damaging for any country to overcrowd itself with immigrants, hence his parties slogan 'you can't mop the floor if the tap's still running'.

When we Europeans express our views such as those expressed by Fortuyn, we do not intend to offend or degrade any race or culture, we merely wish to avoid the problems that exist in African and many Middle Eastern countries where cultural differences lead to horrific conflicts and destroyed civilisations. Fortuyn perhaps said things that he shouldn't, but overall, he was just a man who loved his country and was brave enough to say so in an increasingly sceptical world. You have to understand that millions of Europeans are feeling repressed in their own countries and one has to imagine how this feeling will escalate in years to come if nothing is done about it.
Leon, UK

Leon (UK) is supporting his argument by saying that instability in Africa and the Middle East is due to cultural differences. I beg to differ. These are direct results of the European colonial past and meddling in these regions affairs. Besides, how many wars have been waged in Europe? How many victims perished in those wars or wars caused by Europeans elsewhere? Make a simple statistical comparison between victims of these wars and of those in Africa and the Middle East. I do not think you will be happy with the result. And notice that there were no immigration or Islamic issues then, meaning they were "pure" Europeans.

Was Europe better off before immigrants arrived? Besides, what is the ratio of immigrants to natives in Europe? Westerners should rid themselves of the feeling of being the best, having the best values, etc. In fact, Westerners even should of ashamed of intolerant history in which civilizations and cultures were wiped out of the face of earth and in best cases indigenous people have been reduced to minorities living in reservations.

Europe has come long way. The stability in Europe in the past 50 years is due to the elimination of such xenophobic and fascist views and the dominance of mostly socialist and liberal political institutions. What Fortuyn, Le Pen and their supports are trying to do is to reverse the clock and take Europe back to those horrific pasts. I agree that there are immigration problems, especially in the Netherlands. However, this issue can be and should be resolved by any government. We do not need to use Le Pen and Fortuyn's axes to eradicate the problem and destroy many noble causes in the process. Europe, please wake up!
Nader, Canada

It is a crying shame that a politician should be killed for his views, however extreme they might appear to be. The surprising success of Pim Fortuyn's party was not representative of a wave of racist sentiment, but rather it was symptomatic of a nation fed up with their country being used as a dumping ground for millions of immigrants. An indigenous population that wants to preserve its cultural identity and values cannot simply open the floodgates to wave after wave of immigrants, as it appears the Dutch have done. It is a tragedy for Dutch democracy that Pim Fortuyn's supporters will now be struggling to have their voices heard.
Rachel Boles, Ireland

The shooting of Pim Fortuyn was a direct result of the media's incessant hunt for a sensational story.

John, The Netherlands
Inevitably there will be a media-driven outpouring of emotion and perhaps his party will gain the number of seats they are predicting in the parliament despite not having a single coherent and financially responsible policy to their name. The shooting of Pim Fortuyn was a direct result of the media's incessant hunt for a sensational story. Somebody here in Holland drew a comparison with Diana, Princess of Wales. The irresponsible actions of the (mainly television) media is, in my opinion, largely responsible for creating the climate in which this shooting occurred.
John, The Netherlands

That one lunatic is able to silence the hope of 20% of the Dutch people is the one thing that frightens me the most. The Netherlands is a country that needs a change. That wants a change. Not on immigration. But on the way how government treats its subjects. The government is our servant, and we are not the governments servant. That is what Dr Fortuyn expressed so clearly. That's why so many supported him, including me. But a many persons were frightened by his views, because Pim's views threatened their existences and financial security (of course state subsidized). And when people are threatened they act impulsively.
Alexander van den Berg, Netherlands

It is just too bad that someone can get shot for telling a truth. Fortuyn stood for the integration of immigrants. There needs to be a stop in immigration until such integration is achieved.
Nico Janssen, USA

It is ironic that he claimed that it is immigrants who are responsible for rise of crime in Netherlands and it was a Dutchman who killed him
Chandani, Sri Lanka

It seems to me that his murder is going to undermine free speech

Jonathan Cole, Japan
I believe that the murder of Pim Fortuyn will shake up European, if not world politics. Although I do not agree with many of the views of Fortuyn, it seems to me that his murder is going to undermine free speech, or rather hamper individual expression as people will simply be too frightened to step out of line. I can see European politics heading in the same direction as Japanese politics, where anybody who does not follow the party directives or swim with the political current is immediately dealt a harsh blow (Makiko Tanaka is a prime example). Pim Fortuyn's death will have far-reaching consequences, and could be a red rag to anybody with a gun and the will to use it.
Jonathan Cole, Japan

Yet another politician murdered for his viewpoint. Not acceptable regardless of Fortuyn's views. This how a country ends up with wimpy politicians who vacillate on issues and are afraid to stand up and be counted. Racism is evil but that said, you can't kill people simply for saying what they think.
Di Stewart, USA

Pim Fortuyn was a voice of the dissatisfied Dutch. His legacy may motivate others to continue the frank discussion on the future of Europe. If so, democracy has won.
Adriaan Kolff, Spain (Netherlands)

The assassination of Pim Fortuyn will, I think, prove to be a rallying cry for all disaffected and disenfranchised people of Europe. If people were not aware of Pim Fortuyn and his visionary politics they certainly will be now. We need more men and women of this mans character to replace the sick and insipid nanny knows best politicians that we have now. The Netherlands and the rest of the world have lost one of the most charismatic and original politicians of recent times.
Steve H, UK

If you stir up hatred of other human beings, some people will give you hatred back, including unacceptable violence

James Warwick
The first point to make here is that if you stir up hatred of other human beings, some people will give you hatred back, including unacceptable violence. This is not justifying the horrific murder of Fortuyn in any way but hatred breeds hatred. The second point is that unlike all the other neo-Nazi fascists such as the BNP and Le Pen, Fortuyn did make one good point, which is that Islam is homophobic and misogynistic. I don't agree with his anti-immigration views, as I believe the Islamic ideas are at fault, not the people who may have been taught nothing else from birth. However, the liberal left, of which I count myself, who admire Dutch style values, must not be afraid to say that old fashioned, religious bigotry is not acceptable in the modern Europe. We cannot criticise Le Pen for being bigoted and then excuse Islam (or other equally bigoted religions for that matter) - both of them are guilty of peddling equally repellent, anti-human ideologies. We on the left must oppose bigotry and intolerance wherever it arises, and not leave these arguments to be made by other bigots.
James Warwick

The shooting of Pim Fortuyn is doubtlessly a shocking incident that cannot be morally justified. However, the murder is hardly a result of political correctness, as his party wants us to believe. From GroenLinks to D'66, all "leftist" Dutch parties unanimously condemned the killing. The disgust almost all of us feel when confronted with political murder is political correctness at its best: It demands civility from all actors. Pim Fortuyn's electoral success fed off a different, malign kind of political correctness: Fortuyn spelled out the tacit nationalist assumptions that underlie much of the mainstream arguments about EU immigration policies. Politicians like Fortuyn have massively contributed to a nationalist political correctness (many call it patriotism), because of which potential, recent, and not-so-recent immigrants must fear for their wellbeing just as much as the extreme right must fear maverick assassins.
Thomas Koenig, FR Germany

By what rationale was Fortuyn called "far right?" He was an openly gay libertarian, pro-drugs, pro-sexual freedom, and pro-welfare state. Apparently he was considered an ultra-rightist simply because he was against open immigration. His reason for opposing immigration of rural Muslims was that he understood that the immigrants were dead set against the personal liberties he favoured. He saw no way to preserve the Dutch tradition of personal liberty if large numbers of ultra-conservative immigrants were allowed into the country. And this made him a closet Nazi, according to the media.
James Castro, USA

Fortuyn's greatest crime was idiocy, for which the death penalty was not a fair punishment.

Tariq, Canada
Fortuyn's greatest crime was idiocy, for which the death penalty was not a fair punishment. Men of his mettle are vultures, picking up on social and economic discontent and pushing their own hateful agendas by appealing to people's lowest, most shameful emotions to explain the country's shortcomings. After all, Fortuyn could never explain how he planned to promote Holland's famous tolerance with his own religious intolerance, nor could he explain how immigration could possibly hurt where European countries were increasingly finding themselves short of working age individuals. What Fortuyn knew of Islam was almost nothing. His argument that Islam represses women and gays rested in observations of mostly corrupt Islamic dictatorships, not any kind of deep understanding of the scriptures or Islamic history.
Tariq, Canada

I feel very ashamed of what happened in my country. To kill someone because of his political opinion is something that never should happen in a democracy. I didn't agree with Fortuyn's ideas but that is no reason to kill him! As prime minister Wim Kok said: "in a democracy you can fight each other with words, but never with bullets". It is unbelievable that this happened and this political murder the darkest event in our democracy.
Loesje, the Netherlands

A watershed of sorts, yes. It's symptomatic of a growing polarization and extremism in European politics, and of a deep and growing unease in European societies. Europe is troubled and growing more so by the day.
Chris L., USA

Pim Fortuyn is not a martyr to the extreme right. He is a martyr to Democracy.

Juliet Duncan, The Netherlands
I am appalled and very disappointed at the way the BBC has repeatedly portrayed Pim Fortuyn as a Far Right extremist. I certainly wasn't going to vote for him, but I loved the way he shook up the ever-so-bland politicians who are so lofty they lost touch with the people who are to vote for them. Pim did something for Dutch Politics that most could not: he made people interested in politics and vocalised some very pertinent questions that most politicians were too cowardly to address (no matter what the answer is!). It is sad that at this present moment in time we cannot say that a country is "full" without being called a racist. Ten years is now the expected waiting time for affordable housing.
He had a strong following of immigrants within his own party and among voters and this is something that is not in the BBC reports. Pim Fortuyn is not a martyr to the extreme right. He is a martyr to Democracy.
Juliet Duncan, The Netherlands

I do not believe that this is a watershed or indeed an event of very great consequence. I think it is dangerous to believe that the death of this man will adversely affect the way European political business is conducted. He will not be missed. Intolerance breeds intolerance, perhaps he should have considered that.
Charles Monroe, UK

I feel a good deal of grief at the slaying of Pim Fortuyn. I was in the Netherlands around the time that he rose to prominence in the Rotterdam elections, and to me he seemed to talk a lot of common sense - the media pundits who are so keen to brand him a fascist show in doing so just how keen they are to stifle debate on uncomfortable issues of race, immigration, crime etc. If someone were to campaign on a populist platform like Fortuyn's in Britain, it would have a far broader appeal than that of the BNP's. I would never consider voting for the BNP, but I would certainly have voted for Fortuyn, given the opportunity.
Simon, UK

You may have left us, but your beliefs will continue to gain ground.

Murray de Schot, The Netherlands
To brand Pim Fortuyn's policies and beliefs as Far Right is a travesty to his memory. He merely advocated the views shared by many of the Dutch population. Holland is a small country and densely over-populated. He merely stated that 'enough was enough", no longer would we have large extended families setting up camp here and failing to integrate into Western culture and values. He did NOT advocate barring genuine asylum seekers from entering the country, as he was a humanitarian in his view points, vis-a-vis his stance on homosexuality, women's-rights, etc. To label him under the same category as Extremists like Le Pen shows a latent misrepresentation of his stance. RIP Pim Fortuyn, you may have left us, but your beliefs will continue to gain ground.
Murray de Schot, The Netherlands/ex-Scotland

As a British person who has lived in The Netherlands for the last two and a half years, my fear is that this terrible attack is going to create a martyr for the far-right cause in Europe, and that this has created a vacuum within Dutch politics that may be filled by someone with even more extreme views than Fortuyn.

Your correspondent's interview with Fortuyn hits the nail on the head when she points out that even if Fortuyn wasn't racist himself, his supporters almost certainly were - The fact is that Fortuyn was a political opportunist who has accurately gauged the level of anti-immigration feeling that exists in this country and been carried by the corresponding wave of popular support.
Jon, Netherlands / UK

Pim Fortuyn was not a racist. He was not Le Pen and not Haider and not De Winter. He didn't blame foreigners for the problems of Holland. His political agenda consisted of many different subjects. In political debates he hardly spoke about immigration or Islam. On those subjects, indeed, he was right wing. But on the other subjects such a categorization would be untrue or difficult to defend. Pim Fortuyn was a flamboyant and charismatic leader of a refreshing political party who wanted to do away with the old guard. Up to now these parties divide the important jobs without democratic elections within themselves. They appoint their members at the highest places. Democracy in Holland doesn't exist, and after this killing many people are afraid the old guard will go back doing what it does best: rull undemocratic...
Paul Dekker, The Netherlands

1984 is arriving a little later

Russell, UK
This killing, the 'personal' campaign against Le Pen, the move to 'outlaw' the Austrian government should Haider have been part of it, all show the effects of totalitarian intolerance by the predominate socialist ruling parties around Europe. 1984 is arriving a little later.
Russell, UK

The most worrying thing about this is that the possible 28% of Dutch voters who were expected to vote for Mr. Fortuyn have now been denied a voice. What will their reaction be? I can't comment on now far right Mr. Fortuyn was but when will people get it into their heads, the disgrace is not that such people exist, nor that people will vote for them. The disgrace is that nobody ever wants to ask WHY such people exist and are voted for.
Bill, UK

This will allow the true nationalists of the Dutch nation to assert their authority over the movement. Fortuyn was an embarrassment. However he should have been disposed of politically by the party after the election, not by an individual violently before it.
Quentin Holt, New Zealand

Even though I was absolutely no fan of Pim Fortuyn's ideas (I am more a left wing feeling person), I think you do not kill someone for his ideas. And I know, that (almost) all left (and right) winged Dutchmen agree with me. But what I am afraid of now is, what is going to happen with his party, those men and women did never do something in politics, or at least most of them. Pim was probably able to do it, but Pim himself also didn't trust his party members to lead the country, according to a very good friend of him (H. Mens). I am really afraid now┐.
Tessa, The Netherlands

He was, above all, someone who focused on and addressed the issues that no-one would care to speak about

Murray De Schot, The Netherlands (ex-Scotland)
It only seemed to be the English media that branded Pim Fortuyn with the "far right" handle". He was, above all, someone who focused on and addressed the issues that no-one would care to speak about - overcrowding, the lack of integration of particular incomers, the Muslim views towards homosexuality and women, reducing our spiralling crime problems. He did not advocate forced repatriation, racial hatred or some of the other mis-aligned opinions printed below. He was concerned that Holland should retain it's essence of relaxed and liberal attitudes, not turn into the 4th Reich.
Murray De Schot, The Netherlands (ex-Scotland)

Interesting that the BBC news report made sure the assailant was identified as a "white Dutchman." Guess that minimizes the crime ... And why is it that the popularity of a right-wing politician causes such dismay in the media, when even more extreme views from the far left seldom receive condemnation? And why are the "educated" and "privileged" people of the West willing to hand over all of its civility, culture, and prosperity to the largely intolerant cultures of Africa and south-western Asia?
Tom C, USA

Unlike the vast majority of politicians, Pim Fortuyn was not afraid to speak his mind and tell things as they really are. If only more leaders would take a stand and risk being branded as politically incorrect in order to get their message across. Very few nations can be so fortunate as to have an honest politician who speaks the minds of the silent majority. I can only hope that the Dutch people will realize their great luck in having had a leader like Pim and that they will overcome this unfortunate and senseless tragedy and continue his legacy. A rising star has tragically fallen before he could reach his full potential and he will be sorely missed.
M. Comin, Canada

An event such as this is never a good thing for a democracy even if some feel that Fortuyn was the next Hitler. Hitler was evil incarnate to be sure but it was political correctness and intolerance towards political opposition that created the Third Reich.
Bill, USA

His views just like those of Le Pen represent the views of a suffocated people who can't boldly stand up

Moses Bulamu, Uganda
There should be no doubt in peoples' minds now that far-right wing politics has taken centre stage and will continue doing so in Europe. His views just like those of Le Pen represent the views of a suffocated people who can't boldly stand up." An attack to democracy", that is how it was put but I think it is more of an attack on suffocated views that are being championed by the few unafraid in Europe.
Moses Bulamu, Uganda

You would think that after Europeans realized that slavery and racism were not conducive to human fellowship and love; more progressive thoughts would prevail. However it is obvious that the lesson has not yet come full circle. Fortuyn's tragic murder is here to remind exploiters (the West) that it is a different time in history.
Norman brown, USA (Jamaican)

Matt the "libertarian socialist" - I suggest you look up "libertarian" in a dictionary if you own one. Since when has a libertarian advocated violence against someone whose beliefs he does not share? Isn't that a contradiction of the ideals of libertarianism? I, too, am a socialist (some friends even call me a communist), but I regard the murder of Pim Fortuyn as a tragedy - for his family, his friends, for Holland and for democracy. You can keep your "direct action", Matt.
Nick, Sydney, Australia

It is very sad for everyone who believes in democracy. His death is very shocking to me. Though I find some of his views repugnant, I do agree that immigrants should integrate to the society that they choose to live in.
Fendi, Singapore

It is a shock for me to hear of this event. While I do certainly not agree totally with his policies, I think Fortuyn raised many relevant, important questions for Dutch and Western society and I feel sad for him, his family and friends and democracy as a whole that he has met such a fate. Hopefully the debate he was raising will not end with his tragic death, although I have my doubts about this given the generally sanitised, black and white treatment of politics by the media. To dismiss him as extreme right is absurd, as is comparing him to Le Pen. Regarding immigration, could my Prime Minister John Howard be viewed as more right-wing than Fortuyn, given his stance on the issue, and given he is the leader of a country with infinitely greater resources of land than the Netherlands?
N Cameron, Melbourne, Australia

To kill is a heinous crime, irrespective of someone's views or even deeds. Instead of condemning it, it is unfortunate that civilization has merely classified it (as Ambrose Bierce put it) - felonious, excusable, justifiable, and praiseworthy.
Sarma Kancharla, USA/India

Pim had the guts to say what most were thinking. and yes Holland is full

Richard, Netherlands / Canada
What truly annoys me is (besides the fact that Pim was killed) that in this part of the world and specially the Americans have their opinions ready by stating that Pim was a far right winger, now that coming from the same population that have no clue at all where the Netherlands is located and confuses city names with countries and vice versa. How can they form a opinion if they don't even know what the man was about? Pim had the guts to say what most were thinking. and yes Holland is full, 16 million people living on a piece of land that size, it is a bit too much.
Richard, Netherlands / Canada

Each day brings some new sense of carnage over the world whether through the bombs, tanks, guns with civilians dying by the dozen. Is it really surprising that politicians are no longer immune either. Maybe it's time for them to start cleaning up their act?
Rob, Australia

When I was back in the Netherlands in December last year I was shocked to experience how many taboos there really are. As soon as you want to address political topics as immigration and crime, there is a big hush. It is easier to talk about sex and drugs than to talk about politically incorrect topics. I also see merit in the views of the late Pim Fortuyn. Yes he stirred up commotion and emotion by saying bold things. I think these were more for effect than anything else. Exactly so was his call to abolish the anti-discrimination clause in the constitution, as it is now too eagerly used to muffle people to express their opinion.
Albert Koning, Australia

I am very shocked with the killing of Fortuyn. He may have been very outspoken with his extreme views, however he cannot be compared to Le Pen as Fortuyn was not a racist as he led a multi-cultural party with people from both European and African descent.
Scott, Glasgow, Scotland

To Fortuyn and to those who critisize Islam as being sexist and homophobic, let me remind you the fact that the women you think are being subjugated are Muslims themselves and know their religion better than you. So if you aren't yourself scholar enough to give such verdict, maybe you need some self-evaluation. Everybody knows murder is a crime, and accusing somebody of supporting it is just plain slander. I don't support Mr. Fortuyn's murder, but if he was alive, I would want him to re-evaluate his ideas.
Muhammad Khan, USA/Pakistan

The leftists seem to always receive a more sympathetic hearing from the media. Why?

Thomas, Cleveland, USA
For many leftists, this politician "got what he deserved". It displays once again that leftists will approve of Nazi-like tactics, so long as the opposition is the victim. I am no supporter of radical militant ideas from either side of the spectrum. However, the leftists seem to always receive a more sympathetic hearing from the media. WHY?
Thomas, Cleveland, USA

I might not like what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it. - Voltaire- Democracy is also - or especially- hearing what others have to say. You do not have to agree with it. But then again, the voice of an idea was never silenced by a bullet. This is shocking.
Richard, Lithuania

I am still in shock of what can be possible in this little country. I think his ideas where new and refreshing but by no means rightwing extremist. Or you would have to call the Australian government rightwing extremists, too for their huge immigration laws. That the BBC wishes to compare Fortuyn to a real rascist like Le Pen goes beyond all my belief. All Fortuyn said he wanted to cut back on immigration, he did not talk about a superior race or that he would kick Gays out of the country. For now, we have been slapped back to those days where everything can be talked about as long as it's not deemed unquestionable by the leftwing parties.
Rene, Netherlands

Fortuyn is now a martyr to the cause of the Dutch right

Greg, US
Regardless of the assasin's motive, Fortuyn is now a martyr to the cause of the Dutch right. The Netherlands will eventually come to terms with this event, and politics will continue, but with a touch more gravity - and with a newly-reified rallying point for the rightists in the form of the memory of Mr Fortuyn.
Greg, US

I am appalled at the tragic death of Pim Fortuyn, and my heartfelt sympathies go out to his family and friends. I was a strong opponent of his personal opinions and policies, but I see no reason why someone should not be allowed to express them - after all, if 15% of a country choose to vote for someone, should we really accuse the candidate of an outrage? It was once said that assasination is the extreme form of censorship - people should bear this tragedy in mind when mouthing off ludicrously hypocritical demands to 'gag' the BNP at home. To deny extreme parties their voice, however outrageous their politics, is to make us no better than the blinkered views that the far-right themselves express.
Chris D, Devon, UK

He may have held extremist views, but he was no more extreme than his assassin

David Williams, UK
Despite the fact that in no manner did I agree with his politics, freedom of expression are at the bedrock of our society. He may have held extremist views, but he was no more extreme than his assassin. Everyone is entitled the opportunity to freely express their beliefs. Exceptions should not be made. This horrific and disgusting act violates all the principles of democracy we, the Netherlands and all our European and American partners fight to uphold.
David Williams, UK

Certainly, cold-blooded murder can never be justified. The act seems to be yet another symptom of the current political malaise in Europe. I really get the impression things are coming to a head. I don't see people's unrest going away. Politicians need to wake up to the fact that notions like right and left, right and wrong have long outlived their relevance. I hope all politicians will look this truth in the face before things get any nastier. If they don't, then so-called extreme-right groups are going to become the flag-bearers against the political class, and quite honestly I don't want them as my flag-bearers, so please, please politicians, give me an alternative. To answer the question of whether or not this is a watershed: in the Netherlands, probably yes; in Europe in general, I think the watershed has already been breached in many places.
Dave, UK/France

The brutal murder of Pim Fortuyn is a great loss to Netherlands as a whole and has created a void in a country which desperately needs a man of his mettle.
Nagesh Bhushan, India

The assassination of Mr Fortuyn will probably lead to an increase in the support for his political party. So if this was the reason for his assassination, it would perhaps have been better off to have left him alive. However, Mr McMillan from the US, your conclusion that it was the right that assassinated Mr Fortuyn, although seemingly the most likely explanation, who is going to gain the most from his death?
Jeremy Cedenio, UK/Bermuda

To Matt: On the contrary if you really are a libertarian you would recognize that since people have property rights they therefore have the right to restrict who can come and go on their property (i.e country). A "libertarian socialist" is simply an oxymoron. Saying you're a "Libertarian Socialist" is akin to saying you're a Freedom Loving Stalinist; one precludes the other.
Chris, New Jersey, USA

Anyone deserving the name libertarian does not restrict people's liberty to live where they want

Matt, a libertarian socialist, UK
Anyone deserving the name libertarian does not restrict people's liberty to live where they want. It's good to see people taking direct action against the far right. If Hitler or Mussolini had been killed in the twenties, when they were still 'respectable' and adored by such UK papers as the Daily Mail, who knows how many lives would have been saved?
Matt, a libertarian socialist, UK

Comments like those from Matt, a "libertarian socialist", are moronic. "It's good to see people taking direct action against the far right." It is chilling to read such drivel. I can only hope that his friends provide a moderating influence. On the subject of restricting "people's liberty to live where they want", does that mean that anyone can move into Windsor Castle? By all fair accounts, Pim Fortuyn was guilty only of providing a voice for a considerable proportion of his native population. May he rest in peace.
Chris, US

To paraphrase Matt, anyone deserving the name libertarian does not restrict people's liberty to live. How can you support the murder?
Rob, UK

I thought that his views were accurate in some ways. He said that it is not right that Islam views gays and women as being second class people. This is correct and is not acceptable in modern cultures. If people want to come and live in another country they should abide by the laws of that county. Sexist and homophobic views are not acceptable in EU countries.
M Smith, UK

The UK press have been all too happy to stir up hatred towards the senior figures of the BNP and quite easily this could have been a killing on British soil. When are people going to learn to encourage debate rather than stifling it. The comment on here by Gavin Fielding is an utter disgrace.
Paul, UK

It is ironic that men such as Le Pen and Fortuyn are accused of violence, but it is only their opponents who resort to it. I hope that the Dutch people show their outrage at this perversion of democracy by delivering a landslide for Fortuyn's party at the polls.
Guy Hammond, England

Terrible event. A direct hit on European democracy. Whether we agree with a persons view or not democracy must allow for all opinions. The increase in support for the right is because of the failing of the left based governments in Europe to address the issues their people have. Fortuyn highlighted this and all governments of Europe should wake up fast and sort out the issues he raised now.
Max, UK

Do we have democracy in Europe if people expressing view points other than those issued by the left are deemed far right?

JP Danon, UK
Do we have democracy in Europe if people expressing view points other than those issued by the left are deemed far right and therefore unelectable by responsible citizens or, even worse than that, killed?
JP Danon, UK

Although very few people would actually dare publicly admit that they agree with the views of Pim Fortuyn, I find it interesting that now after his assassination many seem to have taken sides and express clearly their absurd point of view (i.e that it was the left which did this abominable crime!) I think these people (who curiously enough seem to know more than the police!!) should not talk so loud, or jump to any superficial conclusions before the investigations.
Tim, Wales

I still can't believe Pim Fortuyn is gone. He had my vote and will keep my vote since they cannot remove his name from the candidates-list. But it's still unreal to me. Throw a pie in the man's face and I'll think you are stupid, but I can sleep at night. Shoot six bullets in his body and I will not be able to sleep. This is not what we stand for. This is exactly what Pim Fortuyn tried to fight. To feel safe in the streets again. Pim, thank you for your impact and your efforts. Your modern way of doing the job brought a nation together.
Dimitri Tholen, The Netherlands

It's interesting to see the usual pattern unfurling at the foot of another high profile homicide. First you get the usual media hysteria, followed by public hysteria, with all kinds of people being accused without any facts to back it up. It reminds me of the Oklahoma bombing, where some shadowy Muslim group was blamed - a knee-jerk reaction.
Mazz, UK

Let's first see whether it really was a political murder

David Kiltz, Germany
We might be a bit rash. Let's first see whether it really was a political murder. Anyway, face it: Fortuyn just substituted "culture" for race and cultural/national identity for Volksgemeinschaft. The underlying ideas of allophobia and superiority are the same.
David Kiltz, Germany

Pim Fortuyn was not a right wing extremist. The Netherlands is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. In the larger cities you have to wait on average 10 years to be allocated an affordable house. Can you blame him for saying that the Netherlands is full; that we should not encourage too many immigrants to come to the Netherlands before we sort out our own problems with respect to housing, health, education and crime?
Vincent, Holland

Fortuyn was a rare individual who combined a caring ideology with the courage to address some of the more difficult issues now facing many of us in Western Europe. It was this combination that made him such a threat to the established ideological dialogues. For far too long European politicians and other interest groups have stifled debate concerning the integration of immigrants and how we ought to live together in society. Anyone who has raised this issue has automatically been labelled a racist, without any examination of the ideas involved. Since September 11 I would have thought that even the most politically correct would have recognised the need for open dialogue.
A Woods, UK

I think it's disgusting that people are still trying to imply that Mr. Fortuyn was immoral

Boudewijn , Netherlands
I think it's disgusting that people are still trying to imply that Mr. Fortuyn was immoral because of his views on the socio-economic state the Netherlands finds itself in. He was neither-right wing nor fascist. His analysis of Islam was spot on, his ideas on preserving the trend which the Netherlands has embarked on in terms of morality, tolerance etc. were undeniably correct. Who are these people who send in their opinionated rubbish without having understood the message Fortuyn has repeatedly conveyed?
Boudewijn , Netherlands

The gut reaction "He deserved it" must be resisted. This event lowers his opponents to the level they claim the far right to be at, and is as undemocratic as the far right is claimed to be.
Phil, UK

I believe this murder is a definite set back for our democracy. However I do believe that the power gained by Fortuyn in such a short time shows how rich the democracy is.
Dan, Holland/USA

I think that the rise in right wing candidates in Europe is symptomatic that Europe as an area has some serious problems relating to migration. I would by no means support candidates of the far right as I too belong to a minority group, but the reality is that Europe needs a co-ordinated policy relating to immigration. This should not prevent immigration, but ensure that immigrants are fully integrated into the country of settlement.
Mike , UK

I blame the rise of the right wing in Europe on the left wing for not letting the populace know the importance of immigrant labour to their economy

Enyo, Netherlands
My sympathies to the bereaved family. Reading through comments above makes me ask the question, "Who is a right winger?" If Pim's view does not qualify him to be one, then I quests right wing politicians need to be re-defined. I blame the rise of the right wing in Europe on the left wing for not letting the populace know the importance of immigrant labour to their economy. The contribution of the immigrant population to the European economy cannot be overemphasised and yet they are looked down with scorn and disdain and are often associated with crime and discretely blamed for any down turn in the economy.
Enyo, Netherlands

As reprehensible as this act is it certainly isn't a watershed and it certainly isn't the first political assassination. Dr Langeveld must try to use a slightly more clever turn of phrase. Mr Fortuyn's views were at the least distasteful and to most people they were repugnant and simplistic (as is the case with most extremists). However the way to debunk these people is defeat at the ballot box, not murder. Sound rejection of extremists by democratic systems is what those systems were set-up to achieve.
Clive, Kenya (ex UK)

Today when we talk of the wisdom of Solomon nobody actually believes he would really have cut a baby in two, yet we seem quite willing to believe that politicians who propose closing borders, and worse, would genuinely do so. How about actually judging folks on their acts, and not their words? Which countries in Europe have truly open borders? If, as I suspect, the answer is none then who is going to take responsibility for this act of discrimination, in the UK it must surely be our present government - are they proud of this?
Michael Saunby, UK

What action are the police taking? We know that the assassin has been detained, but who is he? This political debate is turning our attention away from more pressing issues.
Konstantin, Russia

He will be missed in the Netherlands very much

David, Netherlands (from UK)
From what I could tell he was not a typical right-wing politician as such. He just happened to say out loud what is on everyone's mind - this is why he became so popular so quickly. Even though his views would have directly affected me and my wife, he was only doing what every free, democratic person is entitled to do, and that is to speak his mind. The danger, the threat to people in the free world are those who want to silence (in any way) people like this from speaking openly about their beliefs. He will be missed in the Netherlands very much.
David, Netherlands (from UK)

Shock is the right word, not a "watershed", I guess the whole of the Netherlands is ready for therapy, not just for the murder, but also for his popularity in the first place, people seem to have lost their minds on practically everything and seem to be thinking that there is an answer, unfortunately he is dead.
Wiebrand, the Netherlands

Firstly I would like to express my deepest sympathy to family and friends of Pim. He was a brave man that dared to speak his mind, and by looking at his results in opinion polls, the mind of a great deal of the Dutch public as well. He was not, as many foreign news agencies proclaimed "a far right extremist, such as Le Pen", he was a man that believed in integration of cultures and freedom of speech. He was a man with an astonishing personality that was there for the people, and will be dearly missed.
Alex Robinson, Netherlands, English

He just loved his country and wanted to preserve what all the Dutch people had build up in the last half century

Martijn, The Netherlands
Why do people have to put Pim Fortuyn at the right end? That is so untrue. Read the full statements yourself before you judge someone! The time that there is right and left is over. On particular subjects, Pim was right, but on a lot other subjects he was very left ended. Pim Fortuyn was killed because the left media and politicians created a climate of extreme right around Pim, which he was not! He just loved his country and wanted to preserve what all the Dutch people had build up in the last half century. What is wrong with that? What has this world come to..?
Martijn, The Netherlands

Mr. Fortuyn's murder should serve as a wake-up call to all freedom-loving peoples. The Left has enforced its political correctness upon us, taken away our freedoms, and has silenced all dissent by labelling those with opposing views "fascists" and "Nazis". Now apparently murder is also part of their political arsenal. The Right in Europe is growing because people have had enough!
Jack McMillan, USA

Pim Fortuyn was not an extremist. To compare him with le Pen or Haider or even worse Hitler is ridiculous. He was outspoken and killed for that reason.
D Schoute, Holland

Western countries are ruled by political classes and their supporters in media as plutocracies, where any "competition" in form of differing opinion is branded as "politically incorrect", is condemned and demonised. And then there is always a sick and violent character, "saving the world from the evil", from a different view. Don't call this democratic.
Bernd Vogel, Germany

Pim Fortuyn was no Hitler, Le Pen, Haider etc. He was in fact a very charming man who had a strong following among Dutch students and intellectuals. Does questioning the power those religious groups can have on our societies put you on the "extreme right"? That probably covers a great many of us. How many conversations around dinner tables among people who would never place themselves on the far right have touched upon similar views? Watching Dutch TV last night, the reaction was one of incomprehension, of a population deeply sad and hurt that its democratic tradition had received such a mighty knock. Calling him "extreme" right is a deep misunderstanding of Dutch society and of the political debate of which he formed an integral part. As Wim Kok the Dutch PM said, you can fight people with words, but not with bullets.
Simon Hoare, Belgium (English)

Let me remind everyone that we, the people of the UK, the Netherlands and France at least, are supposed to live in a democracy

Gareth, UK
It seems to me we now have two very worrying trends to face. The first is the increase in popularity of the far right and all that that entails, which has become apparent not only in the Netherlands but France and the UK. The other, and to my mind even more worrying, is the apparent decision by a majority, that it is OK to crush that which has been voted for by a minority with, in this particular instance, murder. Let me remind everyone that we, the people of the UK, the Netherlands and France at least, are supposed to live in a democracy.

This means that individuals are entitled to stand for government on any platform they like and if they get the votes, then that is the decision of the people concerned whether other like it or not. Very recently we in 'developed' Europe, were more than a little critical of the apparently unfair election held in Zimbabwe. We were told by our press that the voters were threatened and the whole thing was a sham. It rather looks like we in Europe are going to be guilty of exactly the same thing.
Gareth, UK

Although Mr Fortuyn's ideas closely resembled those of Mr Le Pen, ideas that should be fought by every sane man or woman all the world over, both men had, sadly, a democratic legitimacy, and the answer to that certainly isn't a bullet. Talk, political action, but not murder - which is as scary as the far-right's ideas.
Erwan Deverre, France

It was wrong to kill him: both morally and because he has now become a martyr for his evil message of hate. These people can only be stopped at the ballot box.
Charles Moore, Scotland

In extreme cases, this man will be hailed as a martyr

This is obviously a racial attack by the very individuals he was trying to raise awareness of. They knew that a nerve was being struck and instead of arguing their case (they have now proved they don't have one) they took the terrorist way out and murdered him. All this disgusting act of murder has done is harm the anti-Nazi campaginers reputation. And strengthened the resolve of National Front parties. In extreme cases, this man will be hailed as a martyr.

I want to say, that this is not normal for Holland, whole the Netherlands is in shock.
Jorik van Vlastuin, Netherlands

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