Dutch minister wants to link crime and ethnicity

17th September 2008, Comments 5 comments

Interior Minister has proposed breaking the taboo of registering suspects according to their ethnic background.

17 September 2008

THE HAGUE -- Interior Minister Guusje ter Horst has proposed allowing police and judicial authorities to register the ethnic background of criminals.

In an interview with the Amsterdam newspaper Het Parool, the minister said the police and Public Prosecutor's Office should be able to report the ethnic background of suspects.

At the moment, the Netherlands only registers the nationality or the birthplace of suspects, but the children of immigrants are "invisible" as far as background is concerned.

Trouw reports that linking crime and ethnicity is extremely controversial as it allegedly stigmatises foreigners and second and third generation Dutch nationals.

Ter Horst said she does not believe that this would stigmatise certain ethnic groups, nor should it be seen in a negative light. "I remember that when I did research in dentistry in the 1970s we ascertained that Turkish and Moroccan children had many more cavities. We then thought up a questionnaire. It wasn't allowed. It was discriminatory because it was directed at a certain group. That's terrible, isn't it?"
"If you want to solve a problem you have to know who is causing it. And if in Amsterdam it's mostly Moroccans, then you have to give it a name. Otherwise you lose information. Moreover, you can also get the Moroccan community involved."

She said the registration should be seen as "a neutral target group analysis".
The Social and Cultural Planning Office, which is currently studying the need for registration according to ethnic background, will report in December to Integration Ella Vogelaar on the advisability of the idea.
On Wednesday morning, the website GeenStijl (meaning "no style" or poor taste) had 169 reactions to the minister's comments. The website is known as insulting and right-wing and is often full of racist comments. Though most reactions insulted foreigners and Moroccans in particular, some were sarcastic and opposed the minister's proposal.
In a commentary entitled "We are going to measure skulls again!" (the Nazis believed that Aryans had different-shaped and superior skulls), the writer makes fun of a Labour minister putting forward a proposal which until recently would have been considered typical of the far right.

Other responses suggested that people be registered according to their political preference.

One asked why the minister wants to register people with Dutch passports as Moroccans and Turks.

[Radio Netherlands / Frank Scimone / Expatica]

5 Comments To This Article

  • Iftikhar posted:

    on 19th September 2008, 17:12:00 - Reply

    Muslim youths are angry, frustrated and extremist because they have been mis-educated and de-educated by the British schooling. Muslim children are confused because they are being educated in a wrong place at a wrong time in state schools with non-Muslim monolingual teachers. They face lots of problems of growing up in two distinctive cultural traditions and value systems, which may come into conflict over issues such as the role of women in the society, and adherence to religious and cultural traditions. The conflicting demands made by home and schools on behaviour, loyalties and obligations can be a source of psychological conflict and tension in Muslim youngsters. There are also the issues of racial prejudice and discrimination to deal with, in education and employment. They have been victim of racism and bullying in all walks of life. According to DCSF, 56% of Pakistanis and 54% of Bangladeshi children has been victims of bullies. The first wave of Muslim migrants were happy to send their children to state schools, thinking their children would get a much better education. Than little by little, the overt and covert discrimination in the system turned them off. There are fifteen areas where Muslim parents find themselves offended by state schools.

    The right to education in one’s own comfort zone is a fundamental and inalienable human right that should be available to all people irrespective of their ethnicity or religious background. Schools do not belong to state, they belong to parents. It is the parents’ choice to have faith schools for their children. Bilingual Muslim children need state funded Muslim schools with bilingual Muslim teachers as role models during their developmental periods. There is no place for a non-Muslim teacher or a child in a Muslim school. There are hundreds of state schools where Muslim children are in majority. In my opinion, all such schools may be designated as Muslim community schools. An ICM Poll of British Muslims showed that nearly half wanted their children to attend Muslim schools. There are only 143 Muslim schools. A state funded Muslim school in Birmingham has 220 pupils and more than 1000 applicants chasing just 60.

    Majority of anti-Muslim stories are not about terrorism but about Muslim
    culture--the hijab, Muslim schools, family life and religiosity. Muslims in the west ought to be recognised as a western community, not as an alien culture.
    Iftikhar Ahmad
  • Dorothy posted:

    on 18th September 2008, 17:14:05 - Reply


    In today's world and in Holland unfortunately Nazism and aparthied are not a figment of the mind. The are real! And yes the ideologies of one sided blaming for mistakes in the society are as narrow minded as Nazism and Aparthied and the unfortunate thing is it does not solve any problem, research has shown it only aggrevates and makes the problem bigger, so who is burrying the head in the sand here?
  • tony posted:

    on 18th September 2008, 15:45:40 - Reply

    you keep burying your heads in the sand, things get worse, political correct people are the people who cause all these situations, they want to hide what they have done, naievely, don't like the truth about their idealistic but unpractical ideas, use nazism as their coverup line......treat everyone the same
  • Dorothy attema posted:

    on 18th September 2008, 14:47:27 - Reply

    It would be great if what the Minister is saying would be true. But we all know that there is no way records ethnicity are going to be viewed by Dutch people as neutral. Even her suggesting to register Dutch citizens as Moroccans leaves a lot to be desired! Such an exercise will only serve to aliniate and devide the Dutch community further according to ethnicity and religion and the end of it is animosity, bad blood and increased hostilities. I even dare say such moves are rife to bring back mordern days Aparthied in a very surtle way!
  • rltanizaki posted:

    on 18th September 2008, 11:33:14 - Reply

    The good Dutch have had their say on the matter, bless them.