The Dutch are challenging the Danes’ claim to having Europe’s most xenophobic and prejudiced immigration policies.
A new Dutch policy forces would-be immigrants to take an offensive and politically correct quiz (see Holland launches the immigrant quiz – Times Online ) that is clearly designed to provoke Muslims into disqualifying themselves by expressing illiberal attitudes that aren’t necessarily a sign of religious extremism and which are hardly unique to them.
It doesn’t sound like the focus of this quiz is on ascertaining whether the applicants understand and accept the rule of law (which is what will ultimately protects gays, topless bathers and others whose values differ from those of religious conservatives), but rather whether they conform in their personal views to some liberal ideology that even many Westerners would take issue with. The thought police have arrived.
Part of the test includes the screening of a film clip of men kissing and a topless woman sunbathing.
The new test — the first of its kind in the world — marks another step in the transformation of Holland from one of Europe’s most liberal countries to the one cracking down hardest on immigration.
I take one last concern that was voiced very seriously, though:
However, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, a socialist from the parliament’s immigration committee, said the film had been created to help prepare people for “open-minded” attitudes on issues such as homosexuality. “We have lots of homo-discrimination, especially by Muslim youngsters who harass gay men and women on the streets. It is an issue here.”
Vigilantism and harassment of gays should not be tolerated, but I really doubt this is an effective way to solve the problem. Once word gets out that the Dutch are evaluating applicants for their "open-mindedness", those whose hate and prejudice truly are set in stone will come prepared to sing the liberal song Dutch officials want to hear. The real, knuckle-dragging homophobes will beat this feeble testily easily (and not feel an iota of religious guilt for dissembling, either). The solution lies in education and integration, neither of which happen over night or can be dictated from thousands of miles away.
Instead, this quiz will quite ironically filter out the candidates you most want. Simple, straightforward people who, like everybody else, at some points in their lives harbor prejudices based on the limits of their background–but whose attitudes would most likely converge with those of their host society over time as they, like all immigrants, were exposed to new ways of thinking and living–will be penalized for their honesty, and the Netherlands will end up with a mix of secular elites and shrewd religious reactionaries who know how to game the system immigrating. But the people who most deserve this opportunity will be punished for being real, and for reacting as would many in the West to unusual social situations (one person cited in the article pointed out that she’d live in the Netherland for 20 years and never seen two men making out in such an exhibitionistic manner).
P.S. On a lighter note, I’m reminded a bit of Denmark, where it can
be exceedingly dangerous for young foreign men to ride bicycles during the summer months, thanks to the presence
of strategically placed topless sunbathers. I’m not just talking about Muslim bikers, either–I remember watching American exchange
students swap stories about driving into car doors, pedaling through red lights, etc., while transfixed by the sudden disappearance of a woman’s top as they passed a park. Even seasoned, jaded Danish bicylists who’ve grown up with regular exposure to such things–Danes are considerably more comfortable showing, and blaise about the display of, skin than we uptight Yanks–have been known to be lured into accidents by these modern-day sirens.
Talk about protecting yourself by "lowering your gaze". Unfortunately, you can’t just lash yourself to the mast like Ulysses.