Friday, October 14, 2005

The Dutch find their footing....

Kind of. Back to my buddies the Dutch. Slow but steady progress in one of the more, ahem, progressive Western cultures in defending itself from the expansion of a retrograde misogynism. It has been a tough couple of years for the "open door - closed eyes" policy. Like one of my heroes, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, this leadership is being provided by a woman, my heart is all a-flutter for Integration Minister, Rita Verdonk.
THE Netherlands is likely to become the first country in Europe to ban the burka, under government proposals that would bring in some of the toughest curbs on Muslim clothing in the world.
I can almost hear this behind closed doors throughout NL.
Mrs Verdonk gave warning that the “time of cosy tea-drinking” with Muslim groups had passed and that natives and immigrants should have the courage to be critical of each other. She recently cancelled a meeting with Muslim leaders who refused to shake her hand because she was a woman.
Debate! In a democratic country! About rights of the individual and freedom FROM oppression! A shocker!
Mrs Verdonk admitted that a complete ban on the garment would be legally tricky because of freedom of religion legislation. However, she said that she would prohibit the garments “in specific situations” on grounds of public safety. The ban is likely to be enforced in shops, public buildings, cinemas, train and bus stations and airports, as well as on trains and buses.
Fair. A burka can hide, and has hid, quite a bit of C4 and male jihadi.
The Government cites as a precedent existing football legislation, which bans people from entering football grounds covering their faces in scarves.
Fair point. We have laws like that here.
Muslim groups insist that only a few dozen women in the Netherlands wear the burka, and that the ban is a distraction. The Muslims and Government Contact Body said: “Only a handful of Muslims actually wear burkas. Let us focus our energy on what we have in common. This is not a big problem.”
Nice comment. Only a few children are used to make kiddie-porn, why focus law enforcement on that when many more people are parked illegally.
“Women have a very strong opinion about the burka. If you ban it they won’t leave the house. It is not a good way to integrate and emancipate Muslim women. Everything Muslims do is criticised by Verdonk. She is doing it to get votes. She doesn’t care about Muslims and their problems.”
No, she cares about the rights of Dutch women, Muslim included.

You know the old comment about many Conservatives are just Liberals mugged by reality, well – when it comes to the threat to their culture from the excesses of un-assimilated immigrants (in the second most densely populated country next to Bangladesh), there is evidence of that happening with our nice, efficient Dutch friends.
How the Netherlands has become less suicidal:

  • Immigrants must pass an exam on Dutch language and culture before being allowed to move to the Netherlands. That does not apply to immigrants from US, Canada, Australia, Japan and other EU states.
  • Legal immigrants already there must take a Dutch language course at their own expense.
  • Immigrants guilty of any minor crime, such as shoplifting, during their first three years in the country can be deported.
  • People can bring in a husband or wife only once they are 24 years old, and do not depend on welfare benefits. The measures are aimed at curbing international arranged marriages.
  • 26,000 illegal immigrants are being deported, some of whom have been in the country for ten years and have established families.
  • Clampdown on foreign imams working in mosques. They must show their appreciation of Dutch values.
  • Increase in sentences for a range of crimes, and introduction of “zero tolerance” policing to cities such as Rotterdam.
  • Tightening of rules on cannabis-selling coffee-shops and zero-tolerance approach to infringements. About half the coffee shops in Amsterdam have closed.
  • The Netherlands is still liberal in some ways, however. In 2001, the country became the first in the world to legalise gay marriages. The Netherlands still has liberal rules on euthanasia, recently extending it to severely handicapped babies and children.

    Progress is always welcomed. Perfection not requited. Just progress. Oh, and if you are a college student – do yourself a favor, forget a semester in France – spend a semester in The Netherlands. You won’t regret it.
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