Report: extra integration for foreign clerics

13th September 2005, Comments 0 comments

13 September 2005, AMSTERDAM — The Netherlands should not impose a blanket ban on foreign imams, priests and other clerics settling here, according to a special commission on immigration.

13 September 2005

AMSTERDAM — The Netherlands should not impose a blanket ban on foreign imams, priests and other clerics settling here, according to a  special commission on immigration.

It has called instead for an additional integration course for foreign clerics coming to work in the Netherlands.

The ACVZ commission presented its report to Immigration and Integration Minister Rita Verdonk on Tuesday.

While the report's recommendations covers clerics of all faiths, the real debate concerns Muslim imams.

The political establishment in the Netherlands is inclined towards blocking entry to all imams from abroad to minimise the preaching of radical anti-western ideas in Dutch mosques. 

Politicians feel Muslims born and reared in the Netherlands should be trained to be imams instead.

Some mosques served by foreign imams have been accused of being a recruiting ground for Islamic extremists.

The ACVZ recommended that clerics from abroad should be allowed to stay in the Netherlands as long as they work for their religious communities. But their dependants should not be allowed to work.

The report outlines a phased regime under which an individual cleric's rights and duties would be expanded over time. After 10 years the cleric would become eligible for permanent residence status.

The ACVZ said a ban on importing clerics from abroad would be against the principle of freedom of religion.

Communities should be allowed to recruit clerics from another country if no candidate is available in the Netherlands, the report said.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]

Subject: Dutch news

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