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26 I SPECIAL FEATURE Passion Islam I July 2008
in Holland
Out of Hollands population of 15.6 million, many of the resident workers started to with them, such as the payment of taxes,
Muslims make up half a million, which bring in their families. There was also a as well as compulsory education. This
is ten-fold what it was in 1971. Now wave of immigration from Surinam, before means that up to the age of 16, every child
the Islamic atmosphere in Holland has its independence in 1975, and most of the must go to school, including the children
become common feature, with Masjids immigrants were Muslims. of residents.
and Islamic schools in existence in various Muslims now comprise four percent Those who have taken up Dutch
parts of the country. of the Dutch population, with the ethnic citizenship also enjoy equal rights as their
The Dutch government does not Turks being the majority in the Muslim Dutch-born counterparts, including the
interfere in the religious affairs of any community, in that they number about rights to vote or stand for election on the
community, and seeks to integrate the 270,000. This is followed by the Moroccan national level, while at the local level even
various minorities in the country into the ethnic community, numbering 225,000, residents enjoy such rights. It is reported
Dutch society, so that they can participate while the Surinamese community comes that over 100 Muslims hold elective offices
in the democratic practices of the country third, numbering 50,000 in all. at the local level.
and do away with racial inclinations. Additionally, there are Muslims who There is complete religious freedom in
Holland itself was inhabited by very came to Holland as refugees, from such Holland, on both the level of the individual
few Muslims since the last half century countries as Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Ethiopia, and at the communal level, and religion
or so, though the majority of those that Egypt, Afghanistan, the former Soviet is separated from the state. This means
were encompassed by the Dutch Empire Union, and Bosnia. that the government does interfere in the
were Muslims, because, up to 1949, its In 1971, Muslims in Holland numbered affairs of religious bodies, while at the
borders included Muslim Indonesia. In 54,000, in 1975 the figure went up to same time such bodies do not interfere in
Surinam also there is a sizeable Muslim 108,000, in 1980 it was 225,000, and in affairs of the state.
community, of Indian descent. 1997 it reached the 573,000 mark. Clause At the moment there are about 200
In the sixties there was a shortage of No. 1 of the Dutch Constitution stipulates Masjids scattered in various parts of
manpower in Holland and the country had that all the residents of Holland shall Holland, that were built by each of the
to look for foreign labor outside its borders, enjoy equal rights, and the constitution various ethnic groups, while Muslim
so that its economy could be activated, and also forbids any form of discrimination on cemeteries also can be found in dozens
for this reason there was a movement of grounds of religion, faith, politics, sex, or of towns and cities. In fact, right up to the
people from such Mediterranean countries ethnic origin. This means that the Muslims eighties, the Dutch Government used
as Turkey and Morocco. Though in 1974 also enjoy equal rights as those enjoyed to give subventions for the construction
Holland put a stop to the importation of by the Christians. of Masjids and churches, but this came
foreign labor, it did not stop the current But coupled with these rights, there are to an end after it was decided that this
of immigration from such countries, and also responsibilities that go hand in hand was contrary to the idea of separating
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