Islamic schools plan lacks support
13 November 2003 , AMSTERDAM — A Liberal VVD proposal to place stronger demands on Islamic schools looks set to miss out on parliamentary backing after the Labour PvdA withdrew its support for the plan on Thursday.
13 November 2003
AMSTERDAM — A Liberal VVD proposal to place stronger demands on Islamic schools looks set to miss out on parliamentary backing after the Labour PvdA withdrew its support for the plan on Thursday.
PvdA MP Mariette Hamer said the VVD was not prepared to co-operate on an adjustment to its legislative proposal and submitted its own motion calling for extra demands be placed on all religious schools, rather than just Islamic institutes, an NOS news report.
The Labour proposal also called for the student make-up of the school to mirror the ethnic spread of the neighbourhood. The proposal comes amid concerns of growing segregation in Dutch schools, particularly in Amsterdam.
The PvdA also softened the demands from VVD MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali that schools should no longer be mono-ethnic and that school directors must have the Dutch nationality. The PvdA proposed instead that directors need only to be well integrated.
Hirsi Ali has reacted with indignation at the PvdA's withdrawal of support: "It is a slap in our face. That's not how you treat each other". She also accused Labour of breaking its promise and denied the VVD was not willing to discuss the legislative proposal.
And governing coalition partner Christian Democrat CDA MP Jan de Vries accused the PvdA of carelessness in withdrawing its support for Hirsi Ali's legislative motion.
Hirsi Ali stirred controversy last week with her proposal, with Education Minister Maria van der Hoeven claiming that it touched upon Article 23 of the Dutch Constitution which regulates freedom of education. The minister also said that it was not the government's responsibility to take action against so-called "black schools".
But Ali expressed shock at the minister's remarks and said she was in favour of abolishing Islamic schools, claiming that integration is the single greatest problem to have confronted the Netherlands since the end of World War II.
Her comments came despite a recent Education Inspectorate report which indicated that the education offered at the nation's 43 Islamic schools does not breach basic Dutch ethics. The report also said Islamic schools stimulate integration.
And division also opened up within the VVD over Hirsi Ali's moves against to stop the spread of Islamic schools, with MP Clemens Cornielje claiming that the Somalian-born Hirsi Ali was not speaking on behalf of all party members, a statement that VVD parliamentary leader Jozias van Aartsen later denied.
[Copyright Expatica News 2003]
Subject: Dutch news