Pass this test, Dutch government tells Muslims

A draconian new law is expected to force immigrants to the Netherlands to sit a tough exam on Dutch history, geography and culture or face heavy fines. The rules, drafted by the country’s hardline immigration minister, “Iron Rita” Verdonk, and likely to be approved this autumn, will set a challenge for up to half a million mainly Muslim immigrants, including some who have lived in Holland for 30 years. The legislation, which is due to come into force on January 1 next year, requires immigrants to attend 600 hours of coursework before being tested. Failure to attend the course or pass the exam within five years will trigger an annual fine of almost £700, cuts in benefits or the termination of a residence permit.

Sunday Times, 18 June 2006