Friday, November 17, 2006

Et Tu, Nederlands?

ABC News reports:
The Dutch government announced plans Friday for legislation banning full-length veils in public places and other clothing that covers the face putting the Netherlands at the forefront of a general European hardening toward Muslim minorities.

The Netherlands, once considered one of Europe's most welcoming nations for immigrants and asylum seekers, is deeply divided over moves by the government to stem the tide of new arrivals and compel immigrants to assimilate into Dutch society.
The deterioration of liberal democracy in Europe is proceeding at an alarming rate. Those of us in North America don't tend to see this clearly; indeed we don't tend to see anything clearly. But it's happening, and the crazy Pentagon idea of fomenting terrorism among Muslim groups is surely at the heart of it.
"From a security standpoint, people should always be recognizable and from the standpoint of integration, we think people should be able to communicate with one another," Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk told national broadcaster NOS. She said the ban also would apply to headgear like ski masks and full-faced helmets.
This conflation of issues is disturbing. Are we talking about criminals in ski masks holding up banks, or women in veils going to the market? Both! So why are we talking of them in the same context?

There's a lot more here, and I find it very disturbing, especially given the source. Poor Holland. Poor Europe. Poor us!

It started with one big lie, then another, and another, and another, and now look where we are! Law-abiding people in a supposedly free country being told how they can and cannot dress!

When will it end? Will it ever end? Don't get me started!
The main Dutch Muslim organization CMO has been critical of any possible ban. "This is a big law for a small problem," said Ayhan Tonca of the CMO.
Whenever I see people cutting butter with a chainsaw, I always suspect their motives.
Tonca estimated that as few as 30 women in the Netherlands wear a burqa and said the proposed law could be unconstitutional if it is interpreted as targeting Muslims.
If? If?? How could it be interpreted any other way?
Jeroen Dijsselbloem, a lawmaker with the opposition Labor Party which does not support a general ban, condemned the proposal.

"I'm very much worried that in the Muslim community many people will see this as Islam bashing," he said.
It's nice to see there's at least some opposition to the move, and that it is freely expressed. But it does not appear that common sense and common decency are likely to carry the day.
In the Netherlands, policies associated with the nationalist fringe in 2002 have been co-opted by the center: holding asylum-seekers in detention centers, more muscle for the police and intelligence services, and visa examinations that require would-be immigrants to watch videos of homosexuals kissing and of topless women on the beach. Everyone must learn to speak Dutch, and Muslim clerics must mind what they say in their Friday sermons for fear of deportation.
You can't get a visa unless you watch videos of homosexuals kissing? Is this not the height of insanity?

No! Not quite. Listen to the Mayor of Amsterdam, Job Cohen:
"You can't speak with each other if you can't see each other..."
Ah, now I see the problem! Apparently they don't have telephones in Amsterdam!