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15 May 2006
AMSTERDAM — Minister Rita Verdonk reversed her earlier stance at the weekend and ordered the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) to investigate the naturalisation of MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
*sidebar1*Verdonk said on Friday Hirsi Ali had nothing to fear after television programme 'Zembla' highlighted how the Somali-born feminist gave false information in 1992 to get asylum in the Netherlands. Verdonk and Hirsi Ali are both members of the Liberal Party (VVD).
The Minister would not say when asked at a VVD meeting in Rotterdam on Saturday whether Hirsi Ali should now be worried about her status in the Netherlands.
"I don't want to pre-empt the results of the investigation. But laws and rules apply to everyone," Verdonk said in response to a rapper who sang about "someone in the VVD" who "lied and deceived".
The VVD and many other commentators have questioned the significant of the story as Hirsi Ali came clean to senior members of the party when she joined the VVD in 2002. She was also open about the lying during a television appearance in September of that year.
However, former VVD leader Hans Dijkstal said on Sunday that Hirsi Ali should consider whether she should resign from the party now that it was clear she had misled the authorities to get asylum. Dijkstal stepped down as political leader of the VVD shortly after the general election in May 2002. Hirsi Ali was elected to parliament in 2003.
She has admitted since late 2002 that she used a false name and date of birth to disguise the fact she already had refugee status in Kenya when she came to the Netherlands in 1992.
She claimed she was fleeing from an arranged marriage but her brother, an aunt and her ex-husband told 'Zembla' she did not seem to object to the union and was present at the wedding ceremony.
Hirsi Ali denied she attended the wedding and she told 'Zembla' they were lying. Her brother spoke to news agency ANP after the broadcast and said the marriage was arranged. He also said could not confirm if she was present at the ceremony as he was not because he objected to it.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]
Subject: Dutch news
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