The Majority Minority
Christopher Caldwell on the growing Islamic crisis in Holland (in tomorrow’s Weekly Standard), “Holland Daze – The Dutch Rethink Multiculturalism”;
“… the public has been told for two decades now that they ain’t seen nothing yet, that this is only the first wave of a long era of immigration, which they’d better learn to love. The immigrants the country now hosts have been difficult to manage. Part of the problem is the interaction of high immigration and what was for years a generous, no-questions-asked welfare state: As many as 60 percent of Moroccans and Turks above the age of 40–obviously first-generation immigrants–are unemployed, in the only major economy in Europe that has consistently had unemployment at or below American rates.
Most of these immigrants are Muslims. Muslim immigrants had begun to scare people long before Pim Fortuyn, the charismatic populist, turned himself into the country’s most popular politician in the space of a few weeks in 2002, by arguing that the country was already overloaded with newcomers. (Fortuyn was assassinated by an animal-rights activist in May of that year.) Already in the 1990s, there were reports of American-style shootouts in schools, one involving two Turkish students in the town of Veghel. This past October, newspaper readers were riveted by the running saga of a quiet married couple who had been hounded out of the previously livable Amsterdam neighborhood of Diamantbuurt by gangs of Muslim youths. There were incidents of wild rejoicing across Holland in the wake of the September 11 attacks, notably in the eastern city of Ede. The weekly magazine Contrast took a poll showing that just under half the Muslims in the Netherlands were in “complete sympathy” with the September 11 attacks. At least some wish to turn to terrorism. In the wake of the van Gogh murder, Pakistani, Kurdish, and Moroccan terrorist cells were discovered. The Hague-based “Capital Network,” out of which van Gogh’s killer Mohammed Bouyeri came, had contact with terrorists who carried out bombings in Casablanca in 2003. Perhaps the most alarming revelation was that an Islamist mole was working as a translator in the AIVD, the national investigative service, and tipping off local radicals to impending operations.
The question naturally arises: If immigrants behave this way now, what will happen when they are far more numerous, as all authorities have long promised they will be? It has been estimated that the country’s two largest cities, Amsterdam and Rotterdam, will be “majority minority” very soon (Rotterdam is today at 47 percent), and already 65 percent of primary and secondary students in both cities are of non-Dutch parentage. London’s Daily Telegraph, citing immigration experts and government statistics, reported a net outflow of 13,000 people from Holland in the first six months of 2004, the first such deficit in half a century. One must treat this statistic carefully–it could be an artifact of an aging population in which many are retiring to warmer places. But it could also be the beginning of something resembling the American suburban phenomenon of “white flight,” occurring at the level of an entire country.
Read the rest.
Crossposted to SDA