Verdonk takes heat for naturalisation ruling
16 May 2006, AMSTERDAM — The way Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk has decided her Liberal party colleague Ayaan Hirsi Ali was never a Dutch citizen has drawn the ire of several political allies.
16 May 2006
AMSTERDAM — The way Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk has decided her Liberal party colleague Ayaan Hirsi Ali was never a Dutch citizen has drawn the ire of several political allies.
Bibi de Vries, an MP for the Dutch Liberal Party (VVD), furiously laid into Verdonk before the parliamentary party's weekly meeting on Tuesday.
"I am fuming with Rita Verdonk that she has hunted Hirsi Ali like wild game. And if anything happens to Hirsi Ali, there will be people within the VVD who have blood on their hands," De Vries said.
Senior party officials rushed to defend Verdonk, pointing out she was only following the letter of the law. Verdonk announced on Monday evening that Hirsi Ali, who was born in Somalia, is not a Dutch citizen. Her naturalisation in 1997 was based on false information she gave to get her asylum in 1992.
The VVD is one of the three parties in the centre-right coalition government. It has consistently supported Verdonk's approach of expelling asylum seekers for giving false information.
This has not some members of the party taking a different view in Hirsi Ali's case. Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, an MEP for the Dutch Liberal Party (VVD), described Verdonk's actions as "disgusting".
She also criticised the party leadership's handling of the crisis. Verdonk is hoping to lead the VVD into the general election next year.
Hirsi Ali is an outspoken critic of Islam and collaborated with film director Theo van Gogh on the short film Submission. Van Gogh was killed shortly by a Muslim extremist after the film was first aired.
Hennis-Plasschaert said the Netherlands was becoming an international laughing stock for the way it is treating Hirsi Ali. "Naturally, rules are there to be adapted. At the same time it is self-evident to long further than your nose is long."
"Is it not Ayaan who has led an impossible life for three years? Is it not Ayaan who recently heard that she has to leave her home because her neighbours didn't want her there?" the MEP asked.
Director Patrick van Schie of the Telders foundation, the VVD's think tank, told broadcaster VPRO that Verdonk should be disqualified from the race to become the party's next political leader. Speaking to VPRO
And Conservative MP Geert Wilders, who quit the VVD in 2004, accused his former party of "scandalous opportunism" in the way it has treated Hirsi Ali.
Wilders said it was "beyond all bounds" that Verdonk could first say Hirsi Ali had nothing to fear, and then to launch an investigation and announce she was not a Dutch citizen. He accused Verdonk of abusing Hirsi Ali's file in the race for leadership of the VVD.
Both Wilders and Hirsi Ali had to go into hiding for several weeks due to death threats following the murder of Van Gogh.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]
Subject: Dutch News + Ayaan Hirsi Ali