Compulsory integration courses for non-Europeans moving to the Netherlands may be overhauled to include more recognition for freedom of speech issues.
Social affairs minister Lodewijk Asscher told parliament on Thursday he would look into increasing the focus on freedom of speech following a request by Labour MP Ahmed Marcouch. Marcouch called for the rethink following the terrorist attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
The current integration test is far too superficial, Marcouch said earlier on Thursday. ‘There is just a multiple choice question about whether television and radio stations can broadcast their opinions freely,’ he told website nu.nl
Asscher told MPs he would decide before the summer if the integration exam should be more explicit about the Dutch position on freedom. However, the integration classes do cover the constitution, history and Dutch norms and values, he pointed out.
These issues are also included in the participation declaration which is currently being tried out in some local authority areas, he told MPs.
The aim of the declaration, first mooted two years ago, is to insure all immigrants to the Netherlands, including those from other EU countries, are aware of the ‘basic principles of Dutch society.’
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