Posted on September 25, 2007

Government Advisors: Dutch Should Adapt to Muslims

NIS (Dutch News Service), September 22, 2007

The Scientific Council for Government Policy (WRR) says the Dutch must adapt themselves more to Islam. It also advises the elimination of the word ‘allochtoon’, the most common term used to describe residents with a foreign background.

The WRR itself thought up the word allochtoon in 1989. In a report at the time it was suggested this neutral-sounding word was less stigmatising than, for example, immigrant or foreigner. The WRR advice was successful; today, media, schools and politicians all use allochtoon.

Now the WRR however advises using the word allochtoon as little as possible. The word “is no longer neutral” and is stigmatising, the Council says in a report to appear Monday under the title Identification with the Netherlands.

The WRR also considers the Dutch must be prepared to adapt their standards to that of newcomers, for example in the area of religion and sexuality. Tolerance for Islam is too low and question marks on the sexualisation of Dutch society are justified, in its view.

In the report, the WRR also says that the integration debate is not helped by the fixation on the concept of ‘national identity’. The report says that there is nothing wrong with the dual nationality held by most immigrants in the Netherlands.

The WRR already produced a controversial report last year (Dynamics in Islamic activism) when it complained that many Dutch politicians are involved in “Islam-bashing” and urged dialogue with “moderate movements such as Hamas.” Christian democratic (CDA) MP Maxime Verhagen, now Foreign Minister, at the time termed the report unscientific and “sloppy rubbish”. But in a recent debate, the present CDA-led government called the report valuable.

According to newspaper Volkskrant, the WRR will also advise on Monday that primary schools should be encouraged to have ethnically mixed pupil populations. They should be given the statutory commission to create a ‘link’ between population groups, said WRR member and Labour (PvdA) Upper House member Pauline Meurs in the newspaper Friday.