Dutch MPs reject motion to ban minarets

Following the Swiss referendum to ban minarets, a motion in the Dutch parliament called for more “discretion” over the placement of visible satellite dishes, the visibility of urban mosques, and the sound of calls to prayer. The motion was subsequently rejected by most MPs.

The motion was initially tabled by the fundamentalist Christian SGP party, which holds two seats in parliament. It was supported by the Freedom party (PVV) and Rita Verdonk of the VVD. Proponents said the motion would address a feeling of “alienation and unease” among native Dutch people.

The majority of parliamentarians rejected the motion, as well as expressing their doubts over the Swiss minaret ban. Foreign minister Maxine Verhagen suggested that the ban probably conflicts with the right to freedom of religion and therefore breaches international treaties on human rights. Home affairs minister Guusje ter Horst described the Swiss referendum outcome as “very regrettable”.

Muslims Feel Rejected By The CDA

CDA MP Nihat Eski fears that his party hasn’t done enough to distance itself from Rita Verdonk, Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Geert Wilders. Other CDA members and activists agree that Muslims at both the national and local levels are increasingly alienated from the governing Christian Democratic Appeal. {(continues below in Dutch)} ,De emotie, de commotie is groot, zegt hij in een interview met Trouw. ,,Moslims zouden geen incasseringsvermogen hebben, islam en democratie zouden onverenigbaar zijn en het islamitisch geloof zou een achterlijke cultuur zijn. Deze uitspraken hebben moslims diep gekwetst. Het zijn onzinnige en vooral polariserende uitspraken. Uit de moslimgemeenschappen kreeg ik sterke signalen dat ze vonden dat het CDA stelling moest nemen tegen deze uitspraken. Dat is onvoldoende gebeurd en de rekening daarvan kregen we bij de gemeenteraadsverkiezingen.” Eski staat met zijn kritiek niet alleen, wel is het bijzonder dat hij als CDA-kamerlid en moslim nu, vier maanden voor de kamerverkiezingen, zijn kritiek uit. CDA-voorzitter Marja van Bijsterveldt verwoordde in mei tijdens het partijcongres haar zorgen over de kloof tussen het CDA en de moslimkiezer. ,,Er is sprake van pijn en gevoel van miskenning.” Ze riep op tot een andere toon en houding van haar partij. De oud-voorzitter van het CDJA (de jongerenorganisatie), Ronald van Bruchem, zei eerder in een interview dat zijn partij een ‘mega-probleem’ heeft in de grote steden, omdat het contact met allochtonen verloren lijkt.

Almost Half Of Young Moroccans Are Anti-West

AMSTERDAM – Forty percent of young Moroccan immigrants reject Western values and democracy. 6-7 % are prepared to defend Islam with force. These are the findings of the still-confidential report “Radicals and democrats”, prepared by the Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies (IMES) for Rita Verdonk, Minister for Integration and Immigration. The majority of young Moroccans are against the right of free expression, especially when it comes to unfavourable judgements on Islam.

Dutch May Revoke Lawmaker’s Citizenship

The Dutch immigration minister said Monday that Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali-born woman who became one of the most prominent members of Dutch parliament, was improperly granted citizenship in 1997 and it may be revoked. Hirsi Ali, an opponent of fundamentalist Islam and an advocate for immigrant women’s rights, returned abruptly from a book tour in the United States last week after a political firestorm over her past erupted in the Netherlands. Critics called for her to resign after a television program aired Thursday detailing how she lied on her asylum application when she fled to the Netherlands in 1992 to escape an arranged marriage. Hirsi Ali had admitted the fabrications publicly when she was vetted as a candidate for parliament in 2002, and the country’s immigration minister said Friday she did not face any sanctions over the matter. But on Monday, Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk sent a letter to parliament saying that, after reviewing the facts “it must be assumed she (Hirsi Ali) will be considered to never have received Dutch citizenship.” She said Hirsi Ali will have six weeks to formally respond. Hirsi Ali’s spokeswoman Ingrid Pouw said the lawmaker would hold a news conference Tuesday to discuss her position. Earlier Monday, Dutch media reported that Hirsi Ali would announce her retirement from politics this week and would join the American Enterprise Institute starting in September to work on a new book. Pouw could not confirm that. Hirsi Ali’s political downfall would be remarkable, given the prominent role she has played in the Netherlands’ national debate on Islam in the past several years. She became internationally known when filmmaker Theo van Gogh was murdered in November 2004. Hirsi Ali wrote the screenplay for his movie “Submission,” which criticized the treatment of women under Islam and offended many Muslims. She received numerous death threats and has been under continuous police protection since the Van Gogh murder. The Dutch state is currently scrambling to arrange new housing for her after her neighbors in The Hague complained successfully that security arrangements for her had become an unfair nuisance for them. On the TV documentary program Zembla, she repeated that when she arrived in 1992 she changed her name and birth date on her asylum application and did not reveal that she had lived in three different countries after leaving Somalia. Several of her critics called for her to be deported. On Saturday, she told the AP she was the victim of a “smear campaign.”

Immigrants Have To Pass A Racy Test; Netherlands Shows Its Liberal Culture

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands — Want to go Dutch? The Netherlands now has a test for would-be immigrants to see whether they’re ready to participate in the liberal Dutch culture. It includes watching a film of gay men kissing in a park and a woman, topless, emerging from the sea to walk on a crowded beach. Can’t stomach that, don’t apply. Despite whether they find the film offensive, applicants must buy a copy and watch it if they hope to pass the Netherlands’ new entrance examination. The test — the first of its kind in the world — became compulsory Wednesday, and was made available at 138 Dutch embassies. Taking the exam costs $420. The price for a preparation package that includes the film, a CD-ROM and a picture album of famous Dutch people is $75. The test is part of a broader crackdown on immigration that has been gathering momentum in the Netherlands since 2001. Anti-immigration sentiment peaked with filmmaker Theo van Gogh’s murder by a Dutch national of Moroccan descent in November 2004. Both praise and scorn have been poured on Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk, the architect of the new test and other policies that have reduced immigration by at least a third. “If you pass, you’re more than welcome,” Verdonk said. “It is in the interest of Dutch society and those concerned.” Not everyone is happy with the new test. Dutch theologian Karel Steenbrink criticized the 105-minute movie, saying it would be offensive to some Muslims. “It is not a prudent way of welcoming people to the Netherlands,” said Steenbrink, a professor at the University of Utrecht. “Minister Verdonk has radical ideas.” But Mohammed Sini, the chairman of Islam and Citizenship, a national Muslim organization, defended the film, saying that homosexuality is “a reality.” Sini urged all immigrants “to embrace modernity.”

Dutch MPs Hit Out At Anti-Semitic Arab Television

AMSTERDAM — Immigration and Integration Minister Rita Verdonk promised the Dutch Parliament Thursday the government would raise the issue of anti-Semitic broadcasts with Arab countries. A majority of parliamentarians voiced concerns that the Netherlands is being flooded with anti-Semitic propaganda by Arab television stations popular with Middle Eastern immigrants.