Frits Bolkestein does it again. In a speech called De goede vreemdeling (The good stranger) the often contrary former VVD leader followed in the wake of historians Leo and Jan Lucassen allowing the facts to debunk some persistent immigration myths, and introduced an interesting angle to the immigration debate: ‘It is the West that poses a threat to Islam’. What the papers say.
Elsevier magazine invited Bolkestein to make their annual H.J. Schoo speech at Amsterdam’s cultural centre De Rode Hoed on Tuesday. It was the third time Bolkestein, who gave up his party’s leadership thirteen years ago, was asked to preside. ‘His message this time is a different one from the one he conveyed twenty years ago at the Liberal International in Luzern when Bolkestein expressed doubts about the Dutch integration policy’, the magazine writes.
2011 showed a much more optimistic Bolkestein. ‘Many more immigrants are in further education. Many more immigrants have mastered the language. Fewer immigrants marry partners from their native countries. Many more immigrants are becoming part of the middle class.’ He also quoted sociologist Herman Vuijsje who found that the average Turkish family now have fewer children than native Dutch families. ‘A welcome development’, Bolkestein said, ‘and one that completely demolishes Wilders’ argument of a ‘tsunami’ of immigrants.
Bolkestein opened his speech, ‘ almost inevitably’, writes Trouw, with a reference to the PVV leader who, contrary to popular opinion, is ‘not a magician’s apprentice. His comments may be nonsensical but he shouldn’t be stopped from speaking out’, he said.
West threat to Islam
According to Bolkestein Islam is not a threat to the West, it is the West that poses a threat to Islam. ‘It’s the West with its notions of democracy, individuality and pluralism that is threatening Islam. The terrorist attacks are not ‘a sign of strength but of weakness’, he said. The Islamic world of today is neither powerful nor prosperous and Islamists are blaming the West, and that is not going to change for some time, he opined.
Bolkestein also commented that he is not in favour of segregated schooling. ‘I think Muslim children should learn about the Holocaust and evolution’. ‘Segregated schooling will breed a segregated society’, he said.