No decision yet over Hirsi Ali's naturalisation

23rd June 2006, Comments 0 comments

23 June 2006, AMSTERDAM — Expectations that a decision had been made on whether Islam critic Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a Dutch citizen were dashed on Friday.

23 June 2006

AMSTERDAM — Expectations that a decision had been made on whether Islam critic Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a Dutch citizen were dashed on Friday.

Ministers didn't even discuss the issue during their weekly cabinet meeting. Immigration and Integration Minister Rita Verdonk said afterwards that the investigation is continuing.

Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende added that a "well-considered and tenable" story was needed to end the uncertainty about Hirsi Ali's status. He said he hoped the matter could be finalised soon but he could not say if the decision would come next week. "It is being worked on very hard," he said.

It was also reported on Friday that Balkenende had no reason to believe the delay in coming to a decision is deliberate on Verdonk's part.

Verdonk, a member of the Liberal Party (VVD), caused consternation nationally and internationally in mid-May when she informed the then VVD MP Hirsi Ali in a letter that her naturalisation in 1997 may have been invalid.

Hirsi Ali was born in Somalia and was granted asylum from a forced marriage in 1992 after she gave a false name. Her real name is Hirsi Magan.

Commentators in the Netherlands and abroad saw stripping Hirsi Ali of her Dutch passport as an attempt to silence her. A day after Verdonk's letter, Hirsi Ali told a press conference she had decided to accelerate her plans to move to the US. She has been given a job with a neo-Conservative think tank. She also resigned from parliament.

Many of her fellow MPs were incensed at Verdonk, particularly as some people suggested her letter, based on less than a day of investigation into the case, was linked to her bid to become leader of the VVD.

The Dutch parliament passed a motion calling on Verdonk to ensure Hirsi Ali keep her Dutch citizenship no matter what.

Broadcaster RTL reported earlier in this week that Verdonk has already decided Hirsi Ali will keep her Dutch passport. The announcement, however, has been delayed while officials come up with a formulation that will save a loss of face for the Minister.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]

Subject: Dutch news

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