Netherlands to Immigrants: Learn Dutch or Fear Deportation

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Netherlands immigration laws require citizens to pass a difficult test demonstrating Dutch language fluency and cultural knowledge. (via TIME Video)

For some immigrants, this law is reminiscent of the religious and cultural intolerance that they experienced in their native countries. In this video, Riffat Tahir has been trying to learn Dutch for two years because if she does not authorities may force her to return to Pakistan, where she’d be in danger of religious persecution. Tahir wants to learn but fears she may be too old and ill.

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The language test itself is not a new restriction, but earlier this year the government made it much harder to pass, reports Radio Netherlands Worldwide. Though the country was previously known for its tolerance, recent immigration laws have made it one of the strictest in Europe.

As a result, anti-Islamic sentiment builds in the country. Parliamentary leader Geert Wilder says in the video that “Islam is actually a fascist ideology, full of hatred, submission and anything else we should fight against.” Immigration laws are said to preserve Dutch culture, but often feed prejudice. Tahir remarks that she’s noticed a rise in segregation, commenting that she often gets stared at in public for wearing her veil.

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