Growing Muslim Immigrant Population Tests Dutch Reputation for Tolerance

July 16, 2004

Source: Religion & Ethics Newsweekly

On July 16, 2004 Religion & Ethics Newsweekly ran a report on the state of Muslims in European countries, focusing on The Netherlands as an example country. The story began, "Anti-Muslim tensions continue to increase in Western Europe. In Germany, police raided two Islamic centers and mosques looking for signs of terrorism or hate speech. No arrests were made. In France, President Jacques Chirac defended his government's ban on head scarves in schools, saying integration is not working well. For decades, Muslims from the Middle East and North Africa have emigrated to Europe to find work. But jobs for the low-skilled are now hard to find, and 9/11 and the Spanish bombings last March have heightened anti-Muslim fears...The Netherlands has long been a country synonymous with peace and prosperity, with its 16 million citizens enjoying one of the highest standards of living in the world. It's also a nation known for its liberal social values. Here prostitution is open and legal, as is the use of some drugs like marijuana, which can be bought as easily as a cup of coffee. However, like other European nations', Holland's reputation for tolerance is being tested as the country grapples with how to welcome and integrate its growing immigrant Muslim population -- a community of 900,000 people who are increasingly vocal in demanding equality in Dutch society." Read the full story for the entire transcript of the program.