I do think we might have ignored the problems which started to exist after 9/11. After 9/11, society started to harden more and more, especially between muslims and non-muslims. Although we have never experienced such violent and massive attacks on both Islamic institutions and Christian institutions as the last few days, the number of attacks on especially Islamic institutions have much increased already after 9/11. We slowly also became aware of the fact that we had underestimated the number of militant, fundamentalist muslims who were among us, although that number is still low. The fact that some mosques preached that it is justified to beat your wife, and that it is right to kill Jews, gays and even Christians shocked a lot of us. This was associated with the fact a lot of imams (religious leaders) in the Netherlands are "imported" from the traditional countrysides of especially Morocco, who seemed to have another view on all of this.
The feeling I have is very double at the moment. I fear the polarisation that is happening now between muslims and non-muslims. People are scared. Two months ago, a poll showed only 20% of the Dutch feared a terrorist attack on our soil; now, that has risen to 80%. As I said before, the majority of people are not opposed anymore to restrict certain personal freedoms if that can help "national security" (the "Dutch Patriot Act").
But people are also discovering another side of the Netherlands. I live in a region in the south that well has always been a bit known of the relatively large amount of extreme-right youth. That's why a lot of attacks in the recent days were centred in my region: the bombing of an Islamic school in Eindhoven (where I live), and the burning down of an Islamic school in Uden (a place nearby). Signs of white power and that sort of racist sh*t were drawn on the walls. What's more disturbing, however, was the report I just saw on television about the youth in Uden. There seems to be a lot of support for the burning down of the Islamic school. You hear guys say "well they burn down our churches, it's justified to burn down their mosques and schools" (taking into notice that the last two days or so five churches were put on fire; we don't know whether this is the work of fundamentalist muslims whatever, and we should also notice that happened AFTER the first attacks on mosques etc., so it's just plain nonsense), or "we white Dutch have been too oppressed by these newcomers, we have to gain control again". It's just really frightening.
I can understand your friend is very concerned about this Dexter. We all are. We've talked a lot about it, me and my friends, and me and my family. You also hear a lot of muslims who put their children off Islamic schools, elderly muslims who don't speak Dutch are not leaving their houses anymore, female muslims are putting off their hijab out of fear of negative reactions. Yesterday I saw a woman on television, it was just heartbreaking to see. She was a Dutch woman, married with a Morroccan man, and they had two children, whom were both raised in Islam. And she told the reporter "what should I tell my children? tell me. the murderer of Van Gogh was muslim. What should I tell them?" and she started to cry.
The situation is just really tensed at the moment. I just hope it won't last.