20 September 2013
An 18 year old man fighting with rebel forces in Syria has become the sixth Dutch person to be killed in the conflict. Soufyan el H, who told his parents he was going to work in a hospital, was shot in the head during a gun battle with government forces.
According to the Volkskrant newspaper, officials estimate between 50 and 100 Dutch Muslims have travelled to Syria to join the conflict, but Muslim community sources place the number higher.
June 16 2013
The Dutch newspaper Volkskrant has published an email interview with an individual using the name Abu Fidaa, claiming to be fighting with rebel forces in Syria. In the email interview Fidaa writes that he and his fellow fighters estimate there are 100 to 150 Dutch youths in Syria. Two Dutch fighters have died so far, he writes.
Fidaa denies that youths are being recruited against their will, and refuses to say which group the Dutch men are fighting with for “security reasons”. “What use are young men who don’t want to fight?… If youngsters are being recruited it is by the west thanks to its barbaric wars in Muslim countries. The years of images we have seen in Iraq and Afghanistan have planted a longing for jihad in our hearts.”
May 14 2013
According to De Volkskrant, during a meeting on honor-related violence held by the social affairs ministry, police announced that they had supported an underage girl’s Islamic marriage. The Pakistani girl, who was in love with a Pakistani Hindu boy in her neighbourhood, was resisting a planned marriage to a cousin in Pakistan. Police brought her to a secret location, because her family threatened to kill her. The parents supported their daughter’s choice of partner on the grounds that the daughter would have an Islamic wedding. As a result, the couple married in an Islamic ceremony, though the girl was underage and in the Netherlands the performance of a religious marriage without a preceding civil marriage is an offence.
8 May 2012
A pregnant woman of Moroccan origin was attacked in Amsterdam by a group of youths, also of Moroccan origin, consequently suffering a miscarriage. According to de Volkskrant the youth attacked her because “she was also of Moroccan origin and her boyfriend was black.”
The incident saw little coverage except for a story in the city’s local newspaper and a commentary in de Volkskrant. Writer Bart Schut concludes that “Moroccans have a racism problem and that a different outcome would have transpired had a group of white Dutch men committed the attack.
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.
18 November 2011
Anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders has commented in de Volkskrant that next year’s celebrations marking 400 years of Dutch-Turkish relations should be stopped. According to Wilders the ‘Islamic regime’ in Turkey under President Gul and Prime Minister Erdogan threatens the country’s secular constitution and seeks to “re-Islamise the country”.
March 24 2011
In an open letter to Dutch newspaper Volkskrant, Muslim members of the national Christian Democratic party say that they feel they are seen first as Muslims and only second as members of the CDA. The letter warns that Muslim members may leave the party, in which case its position in urban centers could weaken. Regarding their dissatisfaction with the party the letter notes the problem that “we are in alliance with a part that makes combating Islam a key issue”, a reference to Geert Wilders’ PVV.
March 10 2011
The Volkskrant reports that the Dutch coalition government will not allow opposition parliamentarians to see its calculations to halve the number of non-western immigrants to the country. The plans follow anti-Islam party PVV’s support for the current minority government, which was conditional upon halving non-western immigration to the country. Previous documents showed the cabinet planned to cut the figures by 15%, but the PVV maintains that civil service figures show a 50% cut is possible.
January 28 2011
According to reports in the Volkskrant, two thirds of emigrants from the country are ethnic minority residents of the Netherlands frustrated by poor job prospects and intolerance in the country. This is particularly true for well-educated young people with Turkish or Moroccan backgrounds. An MP for the Liberal Democratic party D66 commented that “this is very bad for the economy… It is a real shame that so many well-educated people are being driven out by the symbolic drum rolls from the PVV.”
In a letter to the Dutch newspaper Volkskrant this week, a group of Dutch Turkish professionals expressed concern regarding the position of youth in the community. According to the letter, a growing number of young Dutch Turks feel they are “second class citizens and will remain so”, an exclusion which has perpetuated feelings of apathy and encouraged a turn to crime and radical Islam among the contingent. The open letter drafted by a group of teachers, researchers and civil servants urges the government to ensure that the youth get the education and leadership they need.
Radio Netherlands Worldwide covers the issue with a commentary indicating that the disintegration of a close knit Turkish community safety net in the Netherlands results from an ageing first generation immigrant population and lack of funding and subsidies to community organizations, and claims that those who are well educated often “return” to Turkey, thus “turning their backs” on upcoming generations of Dutch Turkish youth in need of role models.