Talking sense

At last somebody is talking sense about immigration and assimilation. Integration minister Ella Vogelaar has set out plans to bridge the cultural gap between the native Dutch and the immigrant population.

Plans that are sensible, sympathetic and demanding. Her policy aims to counter the xenophobic approach of right-wing politicians such as Rita Verdonk en Geert Wilders which has led only to polarisation and increased racial tensions.
Her plans come a day after the Liberal opposition party VVD launched its new tough line on immigration.
Vogelaar aims to be tough on the criminal elements in the immigrant society but wants to combine this with proposals to increase the participation of ethnic minorities in mainstream society.
She aims to do this by promoting Dutch citizenship, increasing emancipation, improving education and employment opportunities and combating discrimination. Immigration is decreasing as are the differences between various groups of the population, she says.
Immigrants are suffering from the current wave of xenophobia but the Dutch are genuinely concerned about the increasing presence of Islam in the community. To ease this situation, you need politicians with vision and finesse, not the hard-line tactics of Wilders who wants to ban the Koran.

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