The Dutch government says it will abandon the long-standing model of multiculturalism that has encouraged Muslim immigrants to create a parallel society within the Netherlands.
A new integration bill was presented by Dutch Interior Minister Piet Hein Donner to parliament on 16 June, saying:
"The government shares the social dissatisfaction over the multicultural society model and plans to shift priority to the values of the Dutch people.
In the new integration system, the values of the Dutch society play a central role.
With this change, the government steps away from the model of a multicultural society."
The statement continues: "A more obligatory integration is justified because the government also demands that from its own citizens. It is necessary because otherwise the society gradually grows apart and eventually no one feels at home anymore in the Netherlands..."
The new integration policy will place more demands on immigrants. For example, immigrants will be required to learn the Dutch language, and the government will take a tougher approach to immigrants who ignore Dutch values or disobey Dutch law.
The government will also stop offering special subsidies for Muslim immigrants because, according to Donner, "it is not the government's job to integrate immigrants."
The government will introduce new legislation that outlaws forced marriages and will also impose tougher measures against Muslim immigrants who lower their chances of employment by the way they dress.
More specifically, the government will impose a ban on face-covering Islamic burqas as of 1 January 2012.
(sent in by a Dutch reader)