Europe begins the next stage

From the Washington Times:

Even the most liberal voices in the Netherlands now acknowledge that disturbingly high percentages of the local Muslim population have segregated themselves, ignoring, if not shunning, basic Dutch values such as women’s rights, separation of church and state and respect for different lifestyles.

And if the verdict signals a strong shift in the country’s attitudes toward countering terrorism, Holland has been rethinking many of its internal policies since that tragic November day. Immigration has been drastically reduced, with the stated aim of focusing on integrating the large and widely unassimilated existing immigrant communities. New residents must now undergo 500 hours of Dutch language instruction and 50 hours of social orientation. And in January Immigration and Integration Minister Rita Verdonk talked about a “national code of conduct,” a set of general rules to be applied to the public that emphasizes the equality of men and women, non-discrimination and the importance of the Dutch language.

Other measures directly target the Muslim community. Public funding for Islamic schools, often accused of perpetrating the self-segregation of the Muslim community, is under review. And parliament has already voted in favor of a proposal to ban the most extreme forms of veiling (such as the burqa and the niqab) in public.

It is important to remember that in every power struggle, as in war, the enemy gets a vote too. The Dutch Muslim community is not likely to simply shrug their collective shoulders at these measures, especially when this is the first resistance they have encountered in decades. I expect the initial reaction will be to ratchet up the pressure, with riots similar to those seen in France. A wiser move, of course, would be to wait quietly and let the demographic pressure exert itself, but I consider that option to be less likely.