Friday, March 11, 2005

In Holland, Resolve Grows

After years of living under a multiculturalist delusion, the Dutch people are finally working up the resolve to deal with the crisis that now threatens their ethnic identity. Right-leaning Dutch politicians like Geert Wilders - forced to live in government safe houses constantly protected by armed guards because Muslim death threats, now speak openly views that would have banished them from politics just a few years ago.
'Democracy and Islam are not compatible--not today, not in a million years,' [Wilders] said. 'If you look at the political culture of Islam, it's a retarded culture.' By 'retarded' he means that Islam, unlike Christianity, has never undergone a reformation, and that the Islamic world, unlike the West, has not had its equivalent of the Enlightenment. Wilders' message to Muslim immigrants is blunt: Learn Dutch, embrace Dutch social values--or get out.
Wilders has called for closing the Netherlands' borders to 'non-Western' immigrants for five years. He also wants to expel a group of 150 or so 'jihadists' who have been identified by the police and to keep close tabs on 10,000 to 15,000 more Muslim immigrants who have shown sympathy for militants.
Today, Wilders' party stands to win as many as a fifth of the seats in parliament in the coming national election. But he rejects any comparison between his party and other rightist parties in Europe, like France's Le Pen.
'I never cross the line of extremism,' he insisted. 'We are a country of tolerance. It's in our veins. The problem is we tolerate the intolerant--and we get paid back with intolerance.'
But even the Dutch Left now recognizes the problem.
'This is an open and tolerant society, but sometimes we mistake indifference for tolerance,' said Paul Scheffer, a prominent Dutch social critic and journalist from the left.

Five years ago Scheffer created a stir among Dutch intellectuals with a groundbreaking essay in which he argued that the Dutch multicultural model was no longer working. In his book-cluttered study overlooking an old Amsterdam neighborhood that is now predominantly Turkish, Scheffer explained how the first wave of Muslim immigrants, mainly Turks and Moroccans, came as guest workers. They were expected to work for a few years and then leave.

They didn't, and Dutch society never bothered to integrate them.

But the Dutch did offer them a generous welfare state that made it easy to stay, and today nearly 60 percent of Turkish and Moroccan men over age 40 are unemployed despite shortages in the labor market, Scheffer said.

'There are some people who have been on welfare for 30 or 40 years. They don't speak a word of Dutch. They have no contact with Dutch society. They watch satellite TV from the old country. Physically they are here; mentally they are there,' he said.
'We have a long tradition of conflict avoidance, but a weak culture of citizenship,' Scheffer said. 'We have a very negligent way of treating our own history. We are always saying, `Who are we to put such an emphasis on Dutch history. We are not such an interesting country.''

The result, he said, is a generation of immigrants who have no real understanding of Dutch society or Dutch values. And because many of them do not feel connected to the host society, it is easy to become alienated by it, especially when the neighborhood mosque offers a warm welcome and a fiery sermon about the evils of the decadent West.
Despite their new found awareness, the Dutch must face the fact that it may have come too late.
About 2 million immigrants live in the Netherlands--population 16 million--about half of them Muslim. But the figure that makes many Dutch uncomfortable is a forecast that by 2015, the country's four largest cities will have immigrant majorities. Children of immigrants already are the majority in the elementary schools of Amsterdam, Rotterdam and several other cities.
Decades of opne immigration and failed multiculturalism have bequeathed the Dutch people a demographic timebomb. The birth rate for Muslim immigrants vastly outpaces that for native Dutch. Making matters worse, many native Dutch are choosing to emigrate from the Netherlands, fleeing the rising tide of crime and racial hostility in Dutch cities. This only serves to further undermine the native Dutch culture. If the Dutch cannot find a way to deport the immigrants who have settled in their country, or radically raise the native Dutch birth rate, the Netherlands will cease to be Dutch sometime in the next several decades.


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