Friday, March 17, 2006

Dutch test for immigration, comments of Md. Sini...

Dutch film true test for any immigrants

By Bruce Mutsvario

The Associated Press

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands — The camera focuses on two gay men kissing in a park. Later, a topless woman emerges from the sea and walks onto a crowded beach. For would-be immigrants to the Netherlands, this film is a test of their readiness to participate in the liberal Dutch culture.

If they can't stomach it, no need to apply.

Applicants must buy a copy and watch it if they hope to pass the Netherlands' new entrance exam. The test became compulsory Wednesday and was made available at 138 Dutch embassies.

Taking the exam costs $420; the film, a CD-ROM and a photo album of famous Dutch people cost $75.

The test is part of a broader crackdown on immigration.

Praise and scorn have been poured on Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk, architect of the new test and other policies that have reduced immigration by at least one-third.

"If you pass, you're more than welcome," Verdonk said. "It is in the interest of Dutch society and those concerned."

Not everyone is happy with the new test.

Dutch theologian Karel Steenbrink criticized the 105-minute movie, saying it would be offensive to some Muslims.

But Mohammed Sini, chairman of Islam and Citizenship, a national Muslim organization, defended the film, saying homosexuality is "a reality." Sini urged all immigrants "to embrace modernity."

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