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.

(More on TIME.com: Read about France’s burqa ban)

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.

(More on TIME.com: See the 2011 TIME 100 poll)

15 comments
obrienshawn6
obrienshawn6

Their land, their rules. It's all about respect. You come from abroad, learn to fit in and not the other way around.

GeoffP
GeoffP

Good for them. Reduction of immigration from countries with strongly hostile ethnic components should be strongly encouraged. It is insufficient, but it is a start. How precisely are these people contributing to Dutch society with no working knowledge of the language?

JasmineNakamura
JasmineNakamura

I don't see what is wrong with this law. You can still keep your language but have at least the respect to learn the language of the country that will be protecting you and providing countless modern services for you. If I wanted to move to the Netherlands and be a productive member of society I will make every effort to learn about Dutch history, culture, and language. If you don't agree then the only safe assumption is that you're a freeloader; and at least in the Netherlands you are always free to book yourself a one way flight elsewhere.

Arthur1993
Arthur1993

I have lived in The Netherlands for 10 years. Never again. Tolerant my ass. I'm not Muslim and spoke the language perfectly (I regret learning the language since it's so ugly and useless outside of Holland) yet still faced racism. Thank God I'm back in California. 

HardyH
HardyH

The Dutch you are required to learn to pass the so called "inburgeringsexamen" is very basic, and aims at improving your chances on the job market. It requires by no means 'fluency' as is suggested here. Also the basic knowledge of Dutch society that is tested can be acquired in one weekend reading a book. I know this because I watched a person very close to me prepare and subsequently pass the exam (albeit with modest grades).

rhcrest
rhcrest

This is awesome news! Wish we would start doing this stuff here in America. Assimilate or get out of the country! Oh and what Mr. Wilders states is 100% true. Anyone who has studied the Qu'ran and the tenets of Sharia law etc. will quickly come to the same conclusion. Islam means to submit - submit or die. They say Islam is the religion of peace. This means that there will be peace in the house of allah once all have either been killed or have submitted to Islam.  Islam is nothing but a murderous cult.

DavidCraig
DavidCraig

all of the Dutch I have met when working in Holland could speak English perfectly

hsworldphotos
hsworldphotos

The same should be done to all dutch living around the world. If they don´t speak the native language go back to netherlands. It is very sad to see a 1st world country, home of thousands of foreign offices, come up with such ridiculous social philosophies. 

Sad. 

shach22180
shach22180

how is this a bad thing. it should always be a requirement that you fluently speak a country's native language before becoming a citizen . 

darlene
darlene

It's not wrong to require people to learn the the language of the country where they chose to live. It is not intolerant.

Luv1234
Luv1234

Then stop wearing the vail and dress like the Dutch.

Fez
Fez

@rhcrest  It is appears that your knowledge of US immigration laws and Islam is paltry at best. The US does "do this stuff" for all those who wish to gain citizenship. You are required to demonstrate your speaking, reading, and writing ability in English. You are also required to know the answers to 100 pre-set civics questions, of which a random 10 will be selected. In order to pass, you must have a 6/10 score or higher. Source: http://www.uscis.gov/citizenship/learners/study-test. As for your rather bigoted view on Islam, I would like to ask you how you managed to speak to a representative member of approximately 73 different sects, gain their interpretation on Islam, and from this formulate a judgement. I assume that you yourself have devoted hours and hours to studying the Qur'an (Judging from your misspelling of the name of the book, I think a few more hours of looking at the cover are in order). Also, you speak of Sharia law as though it is a monolithic entity, a grave error as again, with any legal code, there are multiple interpretations within it. Some may seem extreme to the 21st century reader. This is understandable. The ancient legal codes of any religious order can be found to have barbaric laws. What you fail to understand is that these laws were designed not from a punitive stand point, but rather a preventative stand point, just as Lex Talionis was designed to prevent people from committing crimes. Going on to your idiotic statement of submission or death, Islam means submitting to the will of God, not submitting to the faith itself. To be a Muslim does not bind you to any particular set of beliefs. Muslims do not agree unanimously on any particular set of beliefs. And yes, this includes the 5 pillars of Islam. The so called 5 Pillars are not followed by every branch, nor are the unanimously agreed upon. Some sects believe that there are 7 pillars, others believe in 5, and others believe in a specific set of pillars not agreed upon by other branches. Some believe in none. However, they all consider themselves Muslims. Moving forward to your statement about peace in the house of allah, I find it incredibly divisive to refer to him as Allah. I suspect you use it to portray a sense of otherness, despite the fact that the God of the Islamic Faith is the same as the god of the Christian and Jewish Faith. Muslims hold all OT prophets and Jesus in very high regard and their story appears in the Qur'an, something you would know if you had actually read it. I am a Muslim. I believe that the Qur'an is the infallible, verbatim word of God and that there is only one God and that Muhammad is his final prophet. Yet, I do not wish to kill you. My parents do not wish to kill you. My friends do not wish to kill you. Hate to break it to ya, but the majority of people in Islam do not wish to kill you. Now that we have the issue of your bigotry out of the way, let's finally focus on one of your first statements, the one about assimilation or get out. I would like to just say Osio Fez Dawado. It is likely that you have no idea as to what I just said. What I have said is, "Hi, my name is Fez," in Cherokee. I guess you should have assimilated better.

Prof.RealityCheck
Prof.RealityCheck

@hsworldphotos  What a ridiculous comment.  Dutch people living in other countries (such as my brother-in-law in NY) DO speak the language of that land as they don't expect special privileges. What is sad is the attitude that people (in Holland and Miami) have that audacity to say that the existing culture should conform to them.

GeoffP
GeoffP

@Fez @rhcrestWhile there is nominal variation in Islamic societies as to the essentials of Islam, all Islamic societies stipulate horrifying penalties for anything seen as disloyal to the faith. Similarly, the bigotry experienced by non-Muslims in Islamic nations, while not uniform in its severity, is serious and follows similar patterns. I have no doubt Mr. Fez, above, has no desire to murder non-Muslims; yet religious hatred of non-Muslims follows inevitably from the existence of Muslim majorities in all Islamic nations worldwide. 

Your citation of the Cherokee is unfortunately telling for you in this regard: you equivocate the failure of Westerners to integrate into Amerindian society with the failure of (some) Muslims to integrate into European society, suggesting that the latter is morally justifiable in respect of this earlier, regrettable history. Oops: and it illustrates the importance of learning from the lessons of horror of the past. I don't support rhcrest's execrable repudiations, but there is wisdom in the recognition of the demographic and societal threat posed by this issue.

rhcrest
rhcrest

@Fez @rhcrest  Sorry but you can't fool me with your taqiyya. I know exactly what Islam is all about.  And like heck do you muslims worship the same God as Christians and Jews. You worship Satan.  And like heck you don't wish to kill all infidels and kafirs. That's the entire basis of your cult.  Every other verse in your book is about terrorizing, torturing and killing the unbelievers. I have a copy of it on my bookshelf. And actually, if it was up to me, i wouldn't even give you people  a chance to assimilate. I'd never let you in this country in the first place.