Hirsi Ali case sparks wider passport enquiry

23rd May 2006, Comments 0 comments

23 May 2006, AMSTERDAM — A majority of MPs in the Dutch parliament have demanded to know how many other former asylum seekers have been stripped of Dutch naturalisation because they lied about their identity.

23 May 2006

AMSTERDAM — A majority of MPs in the Dutch parliament have demanded to know how many other former asylum seekers have been stripped of Dutch naturalisation because they lied about their identity.

The governing Christian Democrats (CDA) and Liberals (VVD) supported the opposition green-left party GroenLinks in calling for an investigation to establish how often the sanction has been applied since the law came into force in 1989.

This is the latest element in the political storm over the position of former Liberal MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali. The Somali-born critic of Islam announced last week she is leaving the Netherlands for the US after Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk cast doubt on the validity of her Dutch naturalisation.

In a television documentary days earlier, Hirsi Ali said she had lied about her name and date of birth to get asylum in the Netherlands in 1992. She became a Dutch citizen five years later. Hirsi Ali has been open about these lies since 2002 when she joined the VVD. Verdonk, also a member of the VVD, said she had not been aware of the lies prior to the television programme.

The Minister came in for a lot of criticism in relation to the way Hirsi Ali has been treated. But Verdonk argued she was merely following a Supreme Court ruling that said it is unclear who has been naturalised if the applicant uses an assumed name.

Parliament passed motions to compel Verdonk to review Hirsi Ali's case and to ensure she keeps her Dutch nationality.

This has led to calls for equal treatment for everyone. "Ayaan must not be treated better or worse than others," CDA MP Mirjam Sterk said. "We want to know what criteria were in force in recent years and how they were applied".

Liberal MP Arno Visser said "clearer insight" was required with a view to drafting a new amendment of the law. He said the intention was not to reverse all previous cases in which a person's citizenship was removed.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]

Subject: Dutch news

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