Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Moroccan Ahmed Aboutaleb mayor of Rotterdam. A step forward?

AP wrote: 'A Moroccan immigrant was installed today as mayor of Rotterdam, the Netherlands' second largest city, in a move hailed as a significant step for the integration of minorities in the European Union nation. Ahmed Aboutaleb, who has dual Dutch-Moroccan citizenship, is the first Moroccan-born immigrant to be appointed a Dutch mayor. Some have compared his achievement to that of U.S. President-elect Barack Obama.'

But I wonder if Aboutaleb’s appointment is a significant step for the integration of minorities in the European Union nation? To break it fast. In this case the answer is 'no'. Why?

Why does a political party moves a Maroccon muslim as mayor into a city which is the centre of the biggest anti-muslim movement in the history of the Netherlands? It would be same if Martin Luther King would have become the mayor of racist Birmingham Alabama in the sixties.

Politics in the Netherlands is becoming increasingly right wing. Even the party of Aboutaleb, the Dutch labour party, is making a move to the right by proposing hardline measures on ethnic minorities who aren't considered integrating.

To catch a bit of the Dutch climate today, some background. The murdered politician and populist Pim Fortuyn was a major force in the anti-muslim atmosphere in the Rotterdam and in the Netherlands. In parliament there is the anti-muslim party of Wilders, the one that made the anti-Islamic film Fitna. The party has 9 seats and is growing to 16 in the polls. Another party who's preparing for the next election with the same agenda has 9 seats in the polls. So this is not a Obama united country.

The answer to why Aboutaleb is mayor is not so difficult. His party wants him to break the anti-Islamic atmosphere in the Netherlands. And they want him to make sure that the party will have some political power left after the next election. But letting a 'minority' mayor solve minority problems is the same thing as asking Obama to stop the violence in the American ghetto's.

I hope Aboutaleb can bring about change. If he does he will not be the Dutch Obama, but the Dutch Aboutaleb.

And the black folks in the Netherland? There are and have been several black mayors, but never of a big city.

Read: The French (translated) comment on Bondy Blog of Aboutaleb

1 comment:

  1. I think here are some things mixed. when there is a anti islam movement in the neatherlands and they gane in strength, then maybe they have reasons for this. i mean this is democratie.
    as far as i understand, noone has a problem with other skin colours or something else, it's about religion-> best examples the terrorist plans from amsterdam.
    when you live in your city, 30 years long and then something like this happens, would you like more muslims in your country or fewer ?
    people in the countries only react on things they see and feel. everyone knows that the neatherlands are on of the most liberal countries in the world, so there is nothing like racism or something else. people see how their life changes in a bad way and want to stop this. so what's wrong with it ?


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