Dutch immigration restrictions draw fire

Dutch Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk’s recent anti-immigrant measures, including a rule to speak Dutch in public, drew fire from Muslim minority leaders as well as from her own party.

“Linking integration to speaking Dutch in the street is nothing but an attempt to turn a blind eye to certain realities on the ground,” Dris Boujoufi, the deputy chairman of the council of Muslim representatives in the Netherlands, told IslamOnline.net Sunday, January 22. “Immigrants of the second and third generations who were born, raised and taught in the Netherlands are yet unable to integrate though they speak Dutch.”

Verdonk told a meeting of her liberal VVD party on Saturday, January 21, that immigrants must comply with a national code of conduct by speaking Dutch in the street.

Her proposal drew immediate fire from some members of her own party. “I can’t see what would hurt the minister or others if I spoke Surinamese with a friend in the street?” asked Laetitia Griffith, a member of Amsterdam’s College of Aldermen which creates and maintains the city’s systems and policies jointly with the city council and mayor.

Islam Online, 22 January 2006