CHARLOTTE, N.C., Aug. 16, 2015 – Progressive though they may be, the Dutch have had enough when it comes to demands by Muslim immigrants. The land of windmills, wooden shoes and tulips is doing away with multiculturalism.
Are you listening, President Obama?
Apparently, the Dutch are finally listening to native son Geert Wilders, founder and leader of the Party for Freedom, who has long been a critic of Islam and its extremist ideology. Wilders now only rarely makes public appearances and has since 2004 received permanent personal protection by armed bodyguards.
The question now is, if the Netherlands follows through on its policies, can France, Germany and other European nations be far behind? Let’s hope not.
On June 16, Dutch Interior Minister Piet Hein Donner presented a 15-page action plan to the parliament that read in part, “The government shares the social dissatisfaction over the multicultural society model and plans to shift priority to the values of the Dutch people. In the new integration system, the values of the Dutch society play a central role. With this change, the government steps away from the model of a multicultural society.”
Donner’s proposal is a dramatic and bold departure from the traditionally liberal Dutch philosophy.
The cover letter attached to the action plan continues, “A more obligatory integration is justified because the government also demands that from its own citizens. It is necessary because otherwise the society gradually grows apart and eventually no one feels at home anymore in the Netherlands. The integration will not be tailored to different groups.”
If agreed upon, the changes in Holland will probably have a greater impact on Muslims than any other immigrants.
Said Donner, “it is not the government’s job to integrate immigrants.”
As part of the program, immigrants will be required to learn to speak Dutch, without exception, including followers of Sharia law. Ironically, the Dutch themselves are, for the most part, linguistically astute. Most Dutch citizens speak, read and even write three or four languages. Therefore their demands are hardly unreasonable.
Perhaps the biggest change that will visibly alter Muslim identity is banning the burqa as a clothing style for women.
In addition, the proposal insists that it will cease providing subsidies for Muslims, and it will no longer allow special criteria for their employment.
As of Friday, the Dutch cabinet approved a partial ban on wearing face-covering veils in schools, hospitals and on public transportation. However, burqas will still be appropriate apparel on the street.
Other Western European countries have had similar problems with Muslim populations refusing to assimilate into the cultural fabric of their host countries. Thus far, France, Sweden and Denmark have not taken action, primarily due to resistance by their elected governments.
Several years ago, France did approve a ban on the use of any religious headwear in schools, such as yarmulkas and headscarves.
Many observers believe that a domino effect of similar legislation could occur in Western Europe now that the Netherlands has taken the initial step.
Later this year, the Dutch government plans to introduce additional legislation that will make forced marriages illegal and impose tougher measures against Muslim immigrants who reduce their opportunities for employment by their choices of clothing, specifically including a ban on burqas that cover the face.
Only 6 percent of the Dutch population is Muslim, but Muslims represent a much greater percentage of the problems facing the country. Meanwhile, other Western nations are dealing with even higher ratios of Islamic immigrants to native population.
The new “this-is-our-country-and-if-you-don’t-like-it-get-out” policy is a far cry from the politically correct appeasement of the past.
It is the restrictive nature of their own cultures in the Middle East that causes Muslims to emigrate to other countries. Upon their arrival, however, many do not assimilate into their newly adopted societies and soon, as their numbers increase, they begin making demands upon those societies by using religion as an excuse.
So long as Barack Obama is president, there will be no such proposals forthcoming in the United States. The good news, at least, is that by the time Obama’s tenure is over, there will be more than a year-long track record of Holland’s success or failure in dealing with multiculturalism that the new administration, whoever leads it, can use as a guideline for change.
Holland’s brash yet important measures bring a new meaning to the term “Dutch courage.” We can only hope the experiment in reducing multiculturalism works and spreads to become a international “Dutch treat.”
Bob Taylor has been traveling the world for more than 30 years as a writer and award-winning television producer focusing on international events, people and cultures around the globe. Taylor is founder of the Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com)
Read more of What in the World and Bob Taylor at Communities Digital News. Follow Bob on Twitter @MrPeabod