Thursday, February 17, 2005

Dutch Christian concerned about Islam

The editor of a Dutch Christian newspaper is very anxious about the rising power of Islam:

Wim Kranendonk is editor of the Reformatorisch Dagblad (Reformed Daily), which is read by about 60,000 Dutch families. The veteran journalist says the concern about the influx of Muslims started in the 1970s when his country was prosperous and needed to hire cheap labor from North Africa. Then things changed, he explains.

"At the end of the 1970s, the economic situation was bad, and there was not so much work," Kranendonk recalls. Normal citizens and many elected officials, he says, then requested that the government curtail the immigration of Muslims, to no avail. "They didn't stop it," he says, "because of the left organizations in our society."

And because of the high birth rate among Muslim families in the Netherlands, coupled with the immigration rate, he says there are now Dutch towns populated entirely by Muslims. "These people have a high rate of births, so they have big families," he observes. "And then you see in towns where there are only people from abroad. Now we have [about] 600,000 Islamic people in the Netherlands."

According to the newspaper editor, the growing Islamic influence has led to the intolerance of critics, including the brutal murder of Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh last fall.

"I was not a friend of Theo Van Gogh. He was cursing the Lord," Kranendonk says. "But it is an example of how Muslim people don't accept the freedom in the society."

Consequently, he says he is concerned about what the future holds for Holland and the rest of Western Europe. "I am anxious about what [the situation with the Muslim population] will be after another ten or fifteen years," he says.

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