Dutch Nationalists slammed for opposing Muslim posts

Dutch MPs rebuked a far-right political party for opposing the appointment of two Muslims to the cabinet.

Dutch Nationalists slammed for opposing Muslim posts
Ahmed Aboutaleb and Nebahat Albayrak were nominated to become the junior ministers for social affairs and integration respectively in the new centrist cabinet being formed by Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende.

If appointed, they would become the first Muslim cabinet members in the Netherlands.

An opposition member of parliament for the nationalist Freedom Party opposed the appointment on Thursday because both men have second nationalities - Aboutaleb also holds Moroccan citizenship, and Albayrak Turkish.

They "remain the servant of two different countries and that can lead to conflicting interests, and that's why it's necessary to oppose this," Sietse Fritsma told the parliament.

The remarks were interrupted by an uproar of protest from MPs until Fritsma was cut off after the parliamentary chairwoman, Gerdi Verbeet, adjourned the session.

When Verbeet reconvened the meeting, she said that Fritsma had withdrawn his motion to block the Muslims' appointment because it conflicted with the Dutch Constitution prohibiting discrimination, which he had sworn to uphold.

Geert Wilders, the leader of the Freedom Party, later claimed that Verbeet, a Labor Party member, was misusing her position to back the two designated cabinet members, who belong to the same party.

"It's unworthy, not objective and very dangerous," he told NOS television.

Muslim leaders in the Netherlands say that there is an urgent need for intercultural dialogue.

A study carried out in 2006 found the Netherlands to be the only Western country where a majority of the population - 51 percent - views Muslims unfavorably.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16