The Netherlands not being petty towards Hirsi Ali
Minister Bert Koenders denies that the Netherlands is being stingy by refusing to pay for former MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali's personal police protection abroad.12 February 2008
HILVERSUM – Development Cooperation Minister Bert Koenders denies that the Netherlands is being stingy by refusing to pay for former MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali's personal police protection abroad.
"The Netherlands does not have the authority to protect her abroad, nor does the French government," Koenders said on the television programme Pauw en Witteman on Monday evening.
He admits that the Netherlands' reputation could be damaged by the commotion about Hirsi Ali in France, but does not think that the Netherlands should do anything about this "damage to its image."
Hirsi Ali said last weekend that she would like to take French nationality. French intellectuals have criticised the Netherlands for not being willing to provide Hirsi Ali adequate protection.
The French president Nicolas Sarkozy announced that he will propose the establishment of a European fund to help people like Hirsi Ali who are threatened for championing freedom of expression.
Koenders does not think the Netherlands looks ridiculous because of the situation. "Hirsi Ali is protected in the Netherlands. She herself has chosen to go to the US." Koenders thinks France is "making a great fuss" about the matter.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2008]
Subject: Dutch news