23 May 2012
Proposals to ban the burqa and dual nationality in the Netherlands remain in process in Dutch parliament, home affairs minister Liesbeth Spies states. With the government collapsed in May, Spies has commented that the legislation could be dropped, given that the sponsoring PVV (Freedom) Party no longer formed the supporting member of the minority coalition. However Spies now says that it is up to MPs to decide whether to drop the legislation, and that so far none have identified the issues as controversial.
3 May 2012
Anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders, leader of the PVV (Freedom Party) will be officially released in the United States this week. The autobiographical Marked for Death: Islam’s War against the West and Me has drawn criticism from Muslims. The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has released a statement on their website stating that “the new book is nothing but a repetition of Mr. Wilders campaign of hate mongering against Islam…”. Wilders is currently touring the United States to promote the book.
2 May 2012
The Netherlands may drop the planned ban on the burqa and on dual nationality which are currently making their way through the national parliament. The change comes with the fall of the minority government, as those aspects of government policy influenced by the presence of the anti-Islam PVV (Freedom Party) enter into renegotiation. Notably, MPs have implored outgoing Interior Minister Liesbeth Spies (CDA) to eliminate the country’s planned burqa ban. Spies has responded that she “wouldn’t shed a tear” if the PVV-sponsored bill was scrapped, but will leave it up to parliament to decide. The proposed ban on dual nationality is now also under contention.
Spies had previously defended both policies, stating in regards to the burqa ban that “it is important that people in an open society meet each other in an open way.” This week, however, Volkskrant quotes her statement that, “now that the cabinet has fallen, there’s no longer any payoff” to supporting PVV sponsored bills. Immigration Minister Gerd Leers has also said that he will no longer support PVV causes within Europe.
14 April 2012
A poster displayed in a primarily Muslim neighbourhood of Utrecht which depicts a woman in a short, strapless dress has been covered over. A black plastic bag has been taped atop the posters, which are promotional material for the city’s museum weekend. A message on the bag reads, “La ilahe il Allah- No Sexually Tinted Advertising In Our Suburbs. Stand Up And Fight Against This Case To Protect Our Children!” A second poster depicting a woman in a bikini was also covered briefly.
While the event prompted reactions online and PVV leader Wilders raised the event in parliament, reaction in the neighbourhood have been mixed. Radio Netherlands Worldwide quotes local Muslim residents with a range of reactions, including Muslim women whose attention had not been attracted by the posters or their covers, and others who see no use in the move to cover the image.
Controversy over female bodies in public campaigns has circulated in the Netherlands before, as when feminist and also religious organizations objected to lingerie and other advertising posters in 2010.
19 April 2012
Turkish President Abdullah Gül has completed a three day state visit to the Netherlands to commemorate 400 years of diplomatic relations between the Netherlands and Turkey. The visited included a state banquet in Amsterdam in which Queen Beatrix praised Turkey as an “inspiration and example” and stressed the history of peaceful relations between the two countries.
Gül’s visit has raised objection from the country’s Freedom Party (PVV) in the form of disparaging comments that “Islamist Gül complains about tolerance”. Representatives from other parties distanced themselves from the criticism, as Labour Party MP Frans Timmermans commented that “The cabinet is being taken hostage by [PVV leader] Wilders”. Further, one member of the PVV resigned from the party in embarrassment to show his disapproval of the comments and the party’s national policies. Gül’s response named Wilders as an Islamophobe whose “extreme voice… feeds radicals”.
Commemoration of the diplomatic anniversary continues, with the Rijksmuseum opening a new exhibition entitled “Modern Turkey”. And the Dutch Queen will return the state visit with a trip to Ankara and Istanbul in mid-June, her first visit to the country since 2007.
MP Tofik Dibi of the Green Left has accused the Dutch government of inflating immigration statistics in order to justify their affiliation with the anti-immigration party PVV. Dibi told ANP, “It is bizarre. You would think ministers were pleased the figures were not as high as they make them out to be.”
The discussion centers around granting family reunification visas, the focus of new and increasingly strict immigration policy in the country. Immigration Minister Gerd Leers commented that 25,000 people were given visas in 2010 for family reunification, but as it turns out 4,000 of those visas were for babies born in the Netherlands to immigrants residing in the country. The current coalition government has pledged as a condition of its support from the PVV to reduce immigration from non-western countries by half.
31 January 2012
Immigration minister Geerd Leers has called for elimination of the term allochtoon, a designation connoting “non-native” and widely \applied in popular use to describe non-western immigrants (particularly from Turkey and Morocco) and their children, up to third generation. Leers commented in a magazine interview, “I want people born in the Netherlands to be called Dutch, plain and simple… I can understand why people who give themselves 100% to society ask themselves why they are being dismissed in such a derogatory way.” Telegraaf reports that Leers’ position is notable, contrasting that of the PVV party in alliance with the minority cabinet, which aims to broaden the scope of the term.
2 Feb 2012
Geert Wilders, leader of the Dutch Freedom Party (PVV) has reacted against a pamphlet produced by the German justice ministry which labels the PVV a ‘right wing populist’ party. The brochure states that right wing populist parties could be a breeding ground for terrorism, and mentions Wilders twice by name. Wilders used his Twitter account to denounce the ‘scandalous’ statement, and demanded that the German ambassador explain why he is included in the brochure.
17 January 2012
Cor Bosman, fired from the anti-Islam PVV party last week for referring to a colleague as “a piece of sicked up halal meat made from a Turkish pig”, has retained his seat in the provincial council of Limburg. While Bosman was thrown out of the PVV he has announced that he will start his own party, standing in the provincial council as the only member of his Party for Quality of Life and Democracy
13 January 2012
A provincial councilor for the anti-Islam PVV in Limburg has been fired from the party for his comments describing a member of the Labour party as “a piece of sicked-up halal meat made from a Turkish pig”, Dutch News reports. Cor Bosman made the comment in an email a year ago, which was leaked to the local press last week. Bosman, who told reporters he had not been formally informed of the decision, said that he had meant the email to be sarcastic. The PVV is the biggest party in the province, holding 20% of the vote.