Piet Hein Donner
The Dutch government appears to be abandoning years of efforts to become multicultural after discovering that allowing Muslim immigrants to grow a “parallel society” in the Netherlands has costs.
Dutch Interior Minister Piet Hein Donner has proposed a bill that will require immigrants to learn Dutch and mandate that all immigrants learn the Dutch culture and the Dutch legal system.
Despite opposition from left-of-center Dutch members of parliament, European Muslim cultural analyst Daniel Greenfield said these are steps in the right direction.
“It’s not a particularly unique one, some of their prescriptions have already been carried out in France. They are certainly the most comprehensive steps so far,” Greenfield said. “But most important is an actual commitment to reducing immigration, which is really the key point here.”
Greenfield said the Dutch government is making the right choice to back away from multiculturalism.
“Multiculturalism is a myth. They’re still committed to a certain kind of integration. What [the Dutch government] essentially is saying is that we’re not going to really deal uniquely with Muslim communities,” he said. “We’re going to crack down somewhat on distinctions such as wearing the burqa and refusing to learn the Dutch language.”
Listen to an interview with Greenfield:
Greenfield said those measures are not going to be the complete remedy for the Netherlands’ cultural problem. He said the Dutch government needs to consider major immigration restrictions.
Greenfield also believes it was tragic that the Netherlands had to experience Muslims pushing for Shariah and the murders of high-profile public figures before they acted.
“It’s like an alcoholic, you have to reach bottom before you realize you have a problem,” he said. “You have to get to the point where it wasn’t just a few women being raped or a few people being murdered by youth as it’s prominently described in newspapers.
“You have to have a broad daylight murder where it wasn’t just a murder of a prominent personality. It was a murder that said you can’t have cultural freedom, that you cannot have freedom of thought. It got people turned around enough to get them thinking about their culture,” Greenfield said.
The Dutch government has not responded to WND’s request for comment on the proposed law.
Curiously, WND reported in 2006 on how Donner said he wanted the Netherlands to give Muslims more freedoms to behave according to their traditions.
“For me it is clear: If two-thirds of the Dutch population should want to introduce the Shariah tomorrow, then the possibility should exist,” Donner said at that time. “It would be a disgrace to say: ‘That is not allowed!’”
Donner was reacting to a plea by a parliamentary leader, Maxime Verhagen, who wanted to ban parties seeking to establish Islamic law.
Donner’s remarks came from an interview in a book, “The Country of Hate and Malice.”
The justice minister said, according to the Dutch Expatica News, “It must be possible for Muslim groups to come to power (in the Netherlands) via democratic means.”
Every citizen, he said, “may argue why the law should be changed, as long as he sticks to the law.”
“The majority counts,” Donner stated. “That is the essence of democracy.”
Greenfield is certain the new laws will eventually reverse the cultural shifts in the Netherlands. However, he believes the country will also benefit economically.
“They’re reducing subsidies to Muslim organizations. They’re talking about eliminating them entirely and that’s going to save money. There are arguments that reducing immigration will have an economic impact. Overall there should be economic benefits to these policies,” Greenfield said.
One of the high profile cases in the Netherlands was the freedom of speech and hate crimes trial of Dutch film maker and politician Geert Wilders. Greenfield says that Wilders’ trial has had a positive cultural impact.
“When you go back to the ’90s, saying that multiculturalism was invalid was pretty much a criminal offense. This (the trial) was a dramatic turnaround because it says that Wilders has the right to make statements. Judges might disagree with him, but he could make them,” Greenfield said.
Wilders was on trial for saying that the Quran is “fascist” in his August 2007 essay “Enough is Enough: Outlaw the Quran” published in the Dutch newspaper De Volksrant.
Wilders was also quoted in the British newspaper the Guardian saying, “Islam is something we cannot afford any more in the Netherlands. I want the fascist Quran banned. We need to stop the Islamization of the Netherlands.”
Wilders was acquitted.
Greenfield believes Wilders’ case will also have a profound impact on the political future of the Netherlands.
“He said that Islam is a problem and he’s walking away from it. That is a major turnaround in European standards and in Holland,” Greenfield stated.
In February, British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicholas Sarkozy said their respective countries’ multi-culturalist programs had failed.
The report said Cameron reported “State Multiculturalism” failed and that the British need to reassert their national identity to stop the rise of “extremism.”
The report said French President Sarkozy said that the French need to expect their immigrants to assimilate into French society.