Dutch political culture 'cultivates migrant hate'

7th June 2004, Comments 0 comments

7 June 2004 , AMSTERDAM — Dutch political culture is sowing hate and criminalising migrants, former Liberal VVD leader Hans Dijkstal has claimed. He particularly slammed a proposal to publicly identify migrants on how much they have integrated into Dutch society.

7 June 2004

AMSTERDAM — Dutch political culture is sowing hate and criminalising migrants, former Liberal VVD leader Hans Dijkstal has claimed. He particularly slammed a proposal to publicly identify migrants on how much they have integrated into Dutch society.

Dijkstal said the stigmatisation of Muslims and repeated attacks against the Islamic community cultivates fierce anti-Muslim reactions and breeds hate among Muslim youth for white Dutch nationals.

The former deputy prime minister, born in Egypt in 1943, placed much of the blame on VVD parliamentary leader Jozias van Aartsen, who he described as 'il capo'. He said under Van Aartsen's leadership, the VVD has opted for the hard line.

"Muslims are being stigmatised. An entire religion is being attacked even though most Muslims are moderate, respectable people," he said, admitting that it was unlikely that his criticism might spark a change in VVD policies.

The Netherlands has encountered problems in recent years with social cohesion and Dutch politicians have resolved to crackdown on the integration of migrants. The government is also actively moving to reduce the number of foreigners settling here.

International criticism was directed earlier this year against a decision to deport 26,000 asylum seekers who failed to win a residence permit under an amnesty that allowed about 2,300 long-term asylum seekers to stay in the Netherlands.

Migrants complain of a community backlash, but have also called on members of their community to respect the Dutch culture. Amid claims that migrants are being stigmatised, several violent crimes committed by migrants in recent years have not helped the migrant cause.

In an interview published by daily newspaper Algemeen Dagblad, VVD chief Van Aartsen was lambasted for the liberties he afforded to the "macho talk" of VVD hardliner MPs Geert Wilders and Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Both politicians were on the wrong track regarding the immigration debate, Dijkstal said.

Dijkstal also strongly criticised other party colleagues and leaders of opposing political parties. He claimed Labour PvdA leader Wouter Bos and Christian Democrat CDA chief Maxime Verhagen were "incompetent".

VVD Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk was rebuked for her plans to issue a sort certificate or badge to migrants indicating how well they have integrated into Dutch society. Dijkstal said the plan was sinister and reminded him of World War II.

He said the plan was starting to suspiciously look like the Star of David that the Nazis forced Jews to wear in World War II.

Present VVD leader Gerrit Zalm said the criticism from Dijkstal was undeserved and regretted that comparison made to the Nazi persecution of the Jews. Zalm said there was a "great misunderstanding" about Verdonk's proposal, newspaper De Volkskrant reported.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news

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