Dutch MP Defends Muslim Ministers

Dutch PM Jan Peter Balkenede has rejected calls by a far-right party to block the appointment of two Muslim ministers in his new coalition government.

Dutch MP Defends Muslim Ministers

Labour MPs Ahmed Aboutaleb and Nebahat Albayrak have been named ministers for social affairs and integration respectively in Balkenede's new cabinet.

But the Dutch anti-immigration Party for Freedom (PVV) said the appointment of the two Muslim ministries should be barred because they hold second nationalities.

Aboutaleb and Albayrak hold Moroccan and Turkish citizenship respectively.

PVV MP Sietse Fritsma said the two ministers remain the servant of two different countries that can lead to conflicting interests.

Former Minister of Integration Rita Verdonk also backed the call, saying ministers and officials should be proud of their Dutch citizenship.

But Balkenede rejected the PVV claim, saying the two Muslim ministers have proved loyal to the Netherlands.

The new Dutch coalition government has been formed after more than 10 weeks of negotiations between the Christian Democrat (CDA), Labour and Christian Union parties following the November general elections in which none of the three parties achieved absolute majority in parliament.

The coalition government still has to be officially announced by Balkenende.

The cabinet will be sworn in once Balkenede has assembled his team and the members of the coalition parties have voted in favor of the government. This process is expected to take another week or so.

The new administration has already announced plans for a broad amnesty for thousands of failed asylum-seekers and a focus on social issues.

Loyal

The two Muslim ministers rejected to question their loyalty to the Netherlands.

"I find questioning my loyalty to this country very incomprehensible. I wrote in my will that I must be laid to rest after my death in the Netherlands," Aboutaleb, an Amsterdam city councilor, has said.

Albayrak, a member of parliament, has said Dutch laws allow having dual citizenship.

"I will not give up my Turkish citizenship," she vowed.

The PVV's call for barring the appointment of the two Muslim ministers has sparked furor among Dutch lawmakers.

Labour MP Jeroen Dijsselbloem said there are more than one million people having dual citizenships in the Netherlands.

"It is unconceivable to demand those people to be more loyal in order to believe they are Dutch," he said.

Half of Dutch people who hold dual citizenships are of Moroccan and Turkish origin, according to the Dutch national centre for census.

Lawmaker Fatma Kucer also opened fire at the PVV policies of fear.

"The PVV has no evidence that dual citizenship means dual loyalty," she said.

The uproar over Fritsma's remarks on the Muslim ministers' loyalty pushed parliament speaker Gerdi Verbeet to stress that all MPs are serving the Dutch interests.

There are seven Muslims in the Dutch parliament.

The PVV is known for its anti-Muslim stances.

Last week, PVV leader Geert Wilder urged Muslims to dump half of the Noble Qur'an and said that he would chase Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him) out of the country if he was alive today.

The right-wing leader has also warned of what he said a "tsunami of Islamization" in the Netherlands.

Dutch Muslims make up one million of the Netherlands's 16 million population.

The Muslim minority has been in the eye of storm since the 2004 killing of filmmaker Theo van Gogh for an anti-Islam film.

The murder was vehemently condemned by Muslim leaders in the country, who said Muslims should respond astutely to anti-Islam campaigns.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
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