MPs from the left-wing green party GroenLinks on Tuesday called for an emergency debate with integration minister Ella Vogelaar after an EU watchdog said Muslim minorities in the Netherlands are facing increasing violence and intolerance.
The new report from the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance said Islamophobia in the Netherlands has “increased dramatically” since 2000. “The criminal justice system, and notably the police, still needs to enhance its role in monitoring and countering racially-motivated offences,” the report said.
The tone of Dutch political and public debate around integration and other issues relevant to ethnic minorities has experienced “dramatic deterioration,” the report say and goes on to warn of a “worrying polarisation between majority and minority communities”. It criticises the official approach to integration for focusing too much on the “perceived deficiencies” among the minority population.
The Netherlands Muslims – around 6% of the population – face “stereotyping, stigmatising, outright racist political discourse and biased media portrayal,” the report continues. Anti-semitism is also on the rise.
The report calls on the Dutch authorities to take the lead in promoting a public debate on integration that avoids “polarisation, antagonism, and hostility”. It calls on ministers to take steps to counter the use of “racist and xenophobic discourse in politics” and review a number of policies which it says result in direct and indirect racial discrimination.
In particular, the report singles out anti-immigration MP Geert Wilder’s PVV party which it says has been “particularly vocal in proposing controversial policies and in resorting to racist or xenophobic discourse, targeting above all Muslim communities”. However, the report notes: “members of mainstream political parties rarely take a stand against this type of discourse.”
Read the ECRI report here.