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Monday, February 27, 2006

Could The Dutch Lead The Way?

Newsweek proclaims "The End Of Tolerance" in an article on Europe's response to the Islamic threat. I don't think that title is accurate. This is not the end of tolerance, but rather the reassertion of it. A declaration that freedom will not yield to intolerance. I think Islam has again miscalculated. They believe the West is weak. I think we're just slow to anger; fighting only when we have too. The Muslims will be shocked at the ferocity of the backlash they are engendering in their Western hosts.
In Holland: ...listen to a prominent Dutch establishment figure describe the new Dutch Way with immigrants. "We demand a new social contract," says Jan Wolter Wabeke, High Court Judge in The Hague. "We no longer accept that people don't learn our language, we require that they send their daughters to school, and we demand they stop bringing in young brides from the desert and locking them up in third-floor apartments."

Dutch Integration Minister Rita Verdonk, one of several top politicians under death threats from Islamists, plans courses for imams to train in citizenship and Western values. She demonstrated what that might mean in front of press cameras in January, telling an imam who refused to shake her hand because of "religious rules" that he had better learn Western customs. "Next year I expect to speak to you in Dutch," she said through an interpreter.

In Demark: Even before Jyllands Posten published the cartoons last fall, Denmark's Minister of Cultural Affairs Brian Mikkelsen said, "We have gone to war against the multicultural ideology that says that everything is equally valid." These days, he speaks for most Europeans. Danes, and Dutch, and a few other countries might be well on their way to creating multiethnic societies. But make no mistake: they're no longer willing to tolerate a European melting pot—a broadly multicultural
society—where different cultures live by widely different norms.

In Germany: ...which for decades refused to admit it had immigrants (in theory, they were "guest workers" who would one day go home), the newly appointed Federal Integration Commissioner Maria Bohmer now says that this see-no-evil attitude was "wishful thinking," to be replaced by what she calls "offensive integration." Part of that is a new seriousness about improving schools and opportunities for education, an arena where Germany more than any other country has failed its immigrant population. But Interior Minister Wolfgang Schuble has also called on the country to adopt the more muscular Dutch Way.

In France: ...Sarkozy unveiled a new immigration law earlier this month, a virtual copy of the Dutch regulations. Sarkozy plans to introduce highly selective immigration, testing for the "assimilability" of those it admits. A new "contract of welcome and integration" stipulates learning French and looking for a job in return for 10-year residence permits and discrimination protections. Immigrants failing to respect basic Western values face deportation. "In the case of a woman kept hostage in her home without learning French, the whole family will be obliged to leave," Sarkozy said, referring to a practice among Europe's most conservative Muslims of importing teenage brides.
There's a new way of thinking coming to Europe. No longer will being Dutch, German, or French be defined on ethnic qualities alone. Rather, they must begin to be more like their American brethren who see themselves as Americans because of the values and freedoms we hold dear not because of where we or our ancestors were born or how we choose to worship.

HT: Right Side of the Rainbow


Anonymous 2/27/2006 02:15:00 PM  

The demographics are the danger. Nothing else. Until that problem is addressed, there is no hope. The muslims will simply outbreed everyone (using Europe's generous social security). Then they can vote for whatever they want.

Shawmut 2/28/2006 04:25:00 PM  

The Dutch situation says volumes in treating the liberal backlash.
When we hear of these countries that are "Oh, so quaint", we don't project ahead to what happens when things go awry. Their laws can go from the 'each to his or her own' to draconian in moments.
The change from the Gilbert and Sullivan image of the police to ranks flaying truncheons can be a crude awakening if something goes wrong. I've witnessed it.
I think we might see greater developments in this when it becomes an issue for the European Union to discuss.

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