Minister: Worrying That Population Experiences Islam as Threat
THE HAGUE, 12/07/13 - Vice-Premier and Social Affairs Minister Lodewijk Asscher considers it worrying that part of the population experiences Islam as threatening.
“The increasing visibility of Islam in our society, the different traditions and views, and the association with violence and radicalisation have led to part of the people seeing Islam as a threat. This is a worrying development because this threatens the cohesion and stability in society,” writes Asscher in answer to questions from the Party for Freedom (PVV).
PVV leader Geert Wilders wanted to know from Asscher how he assesses a recent survey by pollster Maurice de Hond showing that a majority of the Dutch consider that no more immigrants from Islamic countries should be allowed in. The population would also welcome putting a stop to the building of new mosques.
Asscher rejects these proposals. “The Dutch Constitution gives everyone the right (...) to exercise their faith in a house of worship or at a comparable location. This cabinet has no objections in principle to new mosques when there is a need for them in society. It is up to municipalities to determine whether or not a new mosque can be built within the municipal boundaries.”
Additionally, the cabinet is not planning to block immigrants from Islamic countries. Asscher: “The Aliens Act specifies under what conditions someone is eligible for a residence permit in the Netherlands. From what country someone comes, taken by itself, is not relevant to (the question of) whether or not to award a residence permit in the Netherlands.”
Asscher also says there is no connection between Islam and the recent terrorist acts in Boston, London and Paris. “The fact that the suspected perpetrators of these indeed abhorrent terrorist acts follow the Islamic faith tells me nothing about the nature of the Islamic faith as such.”
Wilders’ question as to whether the cabinet does or does not consider the Islamic faith an enrichment for Dutch society is “not relevant,” according to the Labour (PvdA) minister. “In the Netherlands, there is freedom of religion. People are free to follow and to profess any religion whatever.”