Published: 11:30 GMT Daylight Time - Friday 08 July 2011
New bill in Holland to end multiculturalism
Country/Region: Europe, Netherlands
A new parliamentary bill has been presented to the Dutch government to end the multiculturalism that has encouraged Muslim immigrants to create a parallel society in Holland.
Under the new integration bill, which the Dutch Interior Minister Piet Hein Donner presented to parliament on 16 June, immigrants would be required to learn the Dutch language, and a tougher approach would be taken against those who ignore Dutch values or break the law. Extra measures will also be introduced, if necessary, to remove residence permits from immigrants who fail their integration course.
Dutch Interior Minister Piet Hein Donner who presented the new bill to parliament
The bill 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.
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 government also plans to outlaw forced marriages and as of 1 January 2013 will impose a ban on face-coverings. There are also plans to stop offering special subsidies for Muslim immigrants, because, according to Donner, "it is not the government's job to integrate immigrants."
The umbrella Muslim group Contactorgaan Moslims en Overheid (Muslims and Government Contact) says that although it agrees that immigrants should be better integrated into Dutch society, it is opposed to a ban on burqas.
Polls show that a majority of Dutch voters support the government's scepticism about multiculturalism. According to a Maurice de Hond poll published by the newspaper Trouw on 19 June, 74 per cent of Dutch voters say that immigrants should conform to Dutch values. And 83 per cent of those polled support a ban on burqas in public spaces.
Commentators say that the proper integration of the more than one million Muslims now living in Holland has been a major political issue ever since Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn was assassinated in 2002 for his views on Muslim immigration and Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh was stabbed to death in 2004 for producing a film that criticised Islam.
There are now an estimated 1.2 million Muslims in the Netherlands, which is equivalent to about 6 per cent of the country's overall population. Muslim immigrants have become increasingly assertive in carving out a role for Islam within Dutch society. For example, a documentary aired by the television programme 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. It 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.
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Read Hudson New York article - The Netherlands to Abandon Multiculturalism
Read Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations press release: Integration policy based on Dutch values
Download new integration bill in full (Dutch): Integratie, binding, burgerschap