The Netherlands to Abandon Multiculturalism
The Dutch government says it will abandon the long-standing model of multiculturalism that has encouraged Muslim immigrants to create a parallel society within the Netherlands.
A new integration bill (covering letter and 15-page action plan), which Dutch Interior Minister Piet Hein Donner presented to parliament on June 16, reads: "The government shares the social dissatisfaction over the multicultural society model and plans to shift priority to the values of the Dutch people. In the new integration system, the values of the Dutch society play a central role. With this change, the government steps away from the model of a multicultural society."
The letter continues: "A more obligatory integration is justified because the government also demands that from its own citizens. It is necessary because otherwise the society gradually grows apart and eventually no one feels at home anymore in the Netherlands. The integration will not be tailored to different groups."
The new integration policy will place more demands on immigrants. For example, immigrants will be required to learn the Dutch language, and the government will take a tougher approach to immigrants to ignore Dutch values or disobey Dutch law.
The government will also stop offering special subsidies for Muslim immigrants because, according to Donner, "it is not the government's job to integrate immigrants." The government will introduce new legislation that outlaws forced marriages and will also impose tougher measures against Muslim immigrants who lower their chances of employment by the way they dress. More specifically, the government will impose a ban on face-covering Islamic burqas as of January 1, 2013.
If necessary, the government will introduce extra measures to allow the removal of residence permits from immigrants who fail their integration course.
The measures are being imposed by the new center-right government of Conservatives (VVD) and Christian Democrats (CDA), with parliamentary support from the anti-Islam Freedom Party (PVV), whose leader, Geert Wilders, is currently on trial in Amsterdam for "inciting hatred" against Muslims.
As expected, Muslim organizations in Holland have been quick to criticize the proposals. The Moroccan-Dutch organization Samenwerkingsverband van Marokkaanse Nederlanders, which advises the government on integration matters, argues that Muslim immigrants need extra support to find a job. The umbrella Muslim group Contactorgaan Moslims en Overheid says that although it agrees that immigrants should be better integrated into Dutch society, it is opposed to a ban on burqas.
But polls show that a majority of Dutch voters support the government's skepticism about multiculturalism. According to a Maurice de Hond poll published by the center-right newspaper Trouw on June 19, 74 percent of Dutch voters say immigrants should conform to Dutch values. Moreover, 83 percent of those polled support a ban on burqas in public spaces.
The proper integration of the more than one million Muslims now living in Holland has been a major political issue ever since 2002, when Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn was assassinated for his views on Muslim immigration, and since 2004, when Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh was stabbed to death for producing a movie that criticized Islam.
Muslim immigration to the Netherlands can be traced back to the 1960s and 1970s, when a blue collar labor shortage prompted the Dutch government to conclude recruitment agreements with countries like Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia and Turkey. In the 1980s and 1990s, Muslims also arrived in the Netherlands as asylum seekers and refugees, mainly from Afghanistan, Bosnia, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan and Somalia.
There are now an estimated 1.2 million Muslims in the Netherlands, which is equivalent to about 6 percent of the country's overall population. Moroccans and Turks comprise nearly two-thirds of all Muslims in the Netherlands. Most Muslims live in the four major cities of the country: Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht.
As their numbers grow, Muslim immigrants have become increasingly more assertive in carving out a role for Islam within Dutch society. For example, a documentary aired by the television program Netwerk in June 2009 reported that Dutch law was being systematically undermined by the growth of Sharia justice in the Netherlands.
In December 2004, the Dutch Ministry of the Interior published a 60-page report titled From Dawa to Jihad. Prepared by the Dutch intelligence agency AIVD, the report says that the Netherlands is home to up to 50,000 radical Muslims whose key ideological aim is to target the Western way of life and to confront Western political, economic, and cultural domination.
The report concludes that Dutch society is poorly equipped to resist the threat of radical Islam because of "a culture of permissiveness" that has become synonymous with "closing one's eyes" to multiple transgressions of the law.
As for Interior Minister Donner, he has undergone a late-in-life conversion on the issue of Muslim immigration. In September 2006, while serving as justice minister, Donner provoked an outcry after saying that he welcomed the introduction of Islamic Sharia law in the Netherlands if the majority wants it. He also said Holland should give Muslims more freedoms to behave according to their traditions.
After applauding Queen Beatrix for respecting Islam by not insisting that a Muslim leader shake hands with her during a visit to the Mobarak Mosque in The Hague, Donner said: "A tone that I do not like has crept into the political debate on integration. A tone of: 'Thou shalt assimilate. Thou shalt adopt our values in public. Be reasonable, do it our way.' That is not my approach."
Fast forward to 2011 and Donner now says his government "will distance itself from the relativism contained in the model of a multicultural society." Although society changes, he says, it must not be "interchangeable with any other form of society."
Reader comments on this item
|Let the people go. [68 words]||Martin||Jul 2, 2014 18:40|
|Netherlands to abandon multiculturalism [31 words]||David Jacques||Jul 2, 2014 05:49|
|Let's do it! [6 words]||Capwhan||May 17, 2014 10:32|
|Hopefully not too late [81 words]||Americana||May 2, 2014 05:25|
|Netherlands to abandon multiculturalism [8 words]||Figs||Mar 5, 2014 13:42|
|↔ Time to embrace the Dutch [9 words]||Big T||Apr 20, 2014 12:15|
|↔ Ban on Multiculturalism Bill [58 words]||Conway C Conner||Jul 11, 2014 20:58|
|What has our government done to us? [60 words]||Sanne||May 6, 2013 14:51|
|It took time for Muslims to be a problem to others; it will take determined time to rectify it! [118 words]||Abraxis||Feb 23, 2013 11:53|
|The Trojan horse might have bolted.... [44 words]||Rita||Feb 10, 2013 00:46|
|↔ Muslims, educate yourselves out of the Dark Ages [171 words]||Mac||Oct 12, 2013 23:46|
|Australia needs to do the same [20 words]||Ross Lloyd||Feb 9, 2013 22:10|
|That took courage [59 words]||J. Maxwell||Jan 31, 2013 10:31|
|Our turn [16 words]||Lenny Tracy||Dec 15, 2012 22:58|
|It is time. [28 words]||Skthomas||Oct 19, 2012 01:14|
|↔ I thought.... [312 words]||TW_Watcher||Dec 25, 2012 08:32|
|From one Holland to another [15 words]||Paul||Oct 12, 2012 08:43|
|Way to Go, Holland! [14 words]||Bunny Music||Oct 6, 2012 13:09|
|↔ A Good Start [218 words]||Ron Johnson||Aug 3, 2013 11:57|
|Time to wake up! [41 words]||Len Kahn||Sep 14, 2012 19:46|
|Finally and reason for Pim Fortuyn's assassanation [207 words]||Mira||Sep 11, 2012 21:49|
|Update? [10 words]||John||Aug 28, 2012 18:08|
|There's a quote... [25 words]||Grace Hertner||Aug 19, 2012 20:40|
|What happened to this bill? Was it passed/adopted? [66 words]||T.J. Dunlap||Jul 9, 2012 15:35|
|↔ Scared used car salesmanship [34 words]||Joek||Jun 19, 2013 13:41|
|Wonderful write up [157 words]||J.C. Dunn||Jun 12, 2012 09:02|
|The Netherlands to Abandon Multiculturalism [132 words]||Marie||May 24, 2012 11:43|
|Adapting [209 words]||J.Heerma||Apr 6, 2012 03:12|
|Muslim integration [82 words]||Pete Kantor||Mar 26, 2012 16:45|
|↔ Change Immigration Laws [262 words]||Mary||Feb 21, 2013 00:26|
|It's about time [45 words]||CLynn||Mar 15, 2012 19:40|
|It's about time [211 words]||Dr. Sammy Youssef||Mar 9, 2012 21:20|
|Assimilation [91 words]||Missy T.||Feb 2, 2012 17:46|
|↔ From the other side [129 words]||Gary Wilkins||Jan 7, 2013 22:00|
|Follow the law of land [63 words]||SP||Dec 22, 2011 00:01|
|Immigrants should work [175 words]||Patsy Rideout||Dec 19, 2011 00:15|
|Muslims [33 words]||Claire Brunet||Dec 9, 2011 08:54|
|MUSLIMS GO HOME [30 words]||Chris D. Byford||Dec 6, 2011 17:16|
|Good [25 words]||Dyana J. Mullican||Oct 28, 2011 19:50|
|Someone is conspicuously absent [44 words]||Bob Speeter||Oct 2, 2011 23:37|
|One Culture --Western -- that includes Muslims [84 words]||Bill||Sep 27, 2011 12:33|
|Inherent rights vs. imposed rights [78 words]||Pamela Leonard||Sep 24, 2011 22:13|
|Agreement [68 words]||Wilbur Lingle||Sep 22, 2011 15:25|
|I love the Dutch Government - come here to America - we need you [38 words]||Cheryl||Sep 22, 2011 14:15|
|What the? [35 words]||Andrea vande Kleut||Sep 18, 2011 09:51|
|Reply [102 words]||Bartha||Sep 18, 2011 05:30|
|Hooray for the Dutch [43 words]||Sue W.||Sep 17, 2011 22:58|
|After action analysis [18 words]||Terry Privette||Sep 15, 2011 06:42|
|Good [55 words]||Chaz Martel||Sep 13, 2011 13:39|
|A can of worms [44 words]||Keith Cox||Sep 9, 2011 18:13|
|Agree [33 words]||Maureen Ham||Aug 30, 2011 03:31|
|Learn the tongue of the country you live in. [15 words]||Paul Lock||Aug 29, 2011 17:48|
|Great idea! [113 words]||Bill Smith||Aug 29, 2011 12:48|
|National sovereignty [27 words]||Margaret||Aug 28, 2011 23:21|
|A victory! [133 words]||Angel lasuma||Aug 25, 2011 23:18|
|Smarter [22 words]||Barry Ottley||Aug 25, 2011 13:47|
|Fight to preserve the character of the country! [168 words]||Isnabelle Thompso||Aug 21, 2011 03:05|
|Thumbs up for the Netherlands [144 words]||Alex||Aug 15, 2011 11:45|
|Geert Wilders is acquitted of all charges and free speech prevails! [32 words]||H. Wilson||Aug 15, 2011 04:35|
|Finally, sanity reaches into a PC government. [80 words]||Gary||Aug 12, 2011 17:45|
|America should do this [37 words]||Borderraven||Aug 11, 2011 22:21|
|IF THIS IS REAL... [97 words]||All-American girl||Aug 11, 2011 12:54|
|Netherlands Being Smart [25 words]||Patricia Murphy||Aug 11, 2011 12:28|
|Common sense and politicians? [63 words]||Philip Kidd||Aug 9, 2011 20:02|
|Multiculturalism is wrong! [57 words]||Renato Nunes||Aug 3, 2011 13:03|
|Dick Lamm spoke of this [34 words]||G.R.R.||Aug 1, 2011 11:56|
|Decide for yourself [63 words]||Watcher||Jul 6, 2011 17:58|
|Solution [48 words]||Hiramo||Jun 24, 2011 04:12|
|Too Late [11 words]||Lion of Kabul||Jun 23, 2011 16:46|
|Politicians should pay [35 words]||Stephen Gash||Jun 23, 2011 15:33|
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