Dutch Muslims Seek a Fresh Start

Mohammed Farjani says that since his arrival in the Netherlands 38 years ago he has wanted nothing more than to be integrated. Living among many other Moroccan immigrants in Slotervaart, Amsterdam, he became concerned that the groups of dark-skinned youths sometimes congregating on street corners would intimidate native Dutch. “We created an association to work for children in order to help them be like Dutch children, not different,” he says. He and other members of his group, the Buurtvaders (neighbourhood fathers), would patrol the streets, trying to persuade the boys to go to school or back to their homes at night. His organisation has been copied in other Dutch cities, and has been held up as a model of good citizenship.