Cabinet's 'war talk' outrages Dutch MPs
8 November 2004 , AMSTERDAM — MPs have strongly criticised Deputy Prime Minister Gerrit Zalm for his declaration of war against Islamic extremism last week.
8 November 2004
AMSTERDAM — MPs have strongly criticised Deputy Prime Minister Gerrit Zalm for his declaration of war against Islamic extremism last week.
Green-left GroenLinks leader Femke Halsema said she was "extremely unhappy" about the statement, claiming that Zalm had suggested "everything was possible", newspaper De Telegraaf reported.
Admitting that the Cabinet needed to do everything what it could to combat Muslim extremism, she also said it needed to show self-restraint. "We fall too easy into an 'us and them' antithesis with the word war," she said.
In declaring war on Islamic extremism last Friday and the subsequent steps it entailed, Zalm said the cabinet would expand the Dutch intelligence service AIVD, requiring an increase in funding.
It will also investigate the possibility of revoking the Dutch passports of violent offenders who hold dual nationality status. The government will also remain in contact with Muslim organisations in a joint bid to crackdown on extremists.
Cabinet ministers also discussed last week the controversial El Tawheed mosque in Amsterdam, where the suspected killer of Theo van Gogh, 26-year-old Dutch-Moroccan Mohammed B., regularly attended.
But the announced measures — taken in response to the brutal murder of Van Gogh in Amsterdam on 2 November — were largely ignored as MPs raced each other to condemn the cabinet's war talk.
Even the leader of coalition government party Democrat D66, Boris Dittrich, said the image of war could prompt violent reactions. He also warned that Muslims should not be lumped together by the use of such language.
ChristenUnie leader Andre Rouvoet said the term "war" could spark further social polarisation, while Socialist Party chief Jan Marijnissen said if rationality is pushed aside, hate could lodge itself in the heads of extremists.
Labour PvdA leader Wouter Bos said Zalm unjustly indicated that a war against terrorism could be won. “You only need to look at Israel to conclude that this is an illusion,” he said.
Only the parliamentary leader of the Christian Democrat CDA has backed the use of the word. He said Zalm had stated that the cabinet would not back away from an "attack on our rule of law".
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news