(BBC) Dutch film maker Theo van Gogh, who made a controversial film about Islamic culture, has been stabbed and shot dead in Amsterdam, Dutch police say. Police arrested a man in a nearby park after an exchange of gunfire.
Van Gogh, 47, had received death threats after his film Submission, on violence against women in Islamic societies, was shown on Dutch TV.
The film was made with liberal Dutch politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali refugee who fled an arranged marriage.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali has been under police protection since the film was aired. She has also received death threats and has renounced the Islamic faith.
Eyewitnesses quoted by Radio Netherlands said Van Gogh was attacked while cycling by a man dressed in a traditional Moroccan jallaba.
Both the suspect and a policeman suffered bullet wounds and are now in hospital.
Van Gogh – who was related to the famous Dutch painter – had also been making a film about Pim Fortuyn, the populist right-wing, anti-immigration politician assassinated in May 2002.
The film Submission told the story of a Muslim woman forced into an arranged marriage who is abused by her husband and raped by her uncle. It triggered an outcry from Dutch Muslims.
In one scene the film showed an actress in see-through garments with Koranic script written on her body, which also bore whip marks.
The Netherlands is home to nearly one million Muslims or 5.5% of the population.
One of the film maker’s colleagues at the film production company said Van Gogh had received death threats “but he never took them quite seriously”.
“He was a controversial figure and a champion of free speech,” he told Reuters.
Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende said “it is unacceptable if expressing your opinion would be the cause of this brutal murder”.
And Queen Beatrix said she was shocked and appalled at the killing, AFP news agency reported.