Amid Rise of Multiculturalism, Dutch Confront Their Questions of Identity

Source: The New York Times

By Steven Erlanger

Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian who admitted to mass killings last month, was obsessed with Islam and had high praise for the Netherlands, an important test case in the resurgence of the anti-immigrant right in north in northern Europe.

 The killings could weaken nationalist fervor in Europe, as the Oklahoma City bombing cooled off militias in the U.S. in the late 1990s. 

The sometimes violent European backlash against Islam and its challenge to national values can be said to have started here, in a country born from Europe’s religious wars. After a decade of growing public anger, an aggressively anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim politician, Geert Wilders, leads the third-largest party, which keeps the government in power.

In Slotervaart, a majority immigrant neighborhood in southwestern Amsterdam, Maria Kuhlman and her friends watched Muslim families stroll by on a Ramadan afternoon, some of the men in robes and beards, the women wearing headscarves. A large blond woman shouted, “Go Wilders!”

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http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/14/world/europe/14dutch.html?_r=1

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