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After Van Gogh

How should the centre-left respond to the implosion of the multicultural ideal in the Netherlands?

By Wouter Bos   January 2005

Trevor Phillips, head of the Commission for Racial Equality, thinks he knows what has gone wrong in the Netherlands. He wrote recently: “By treating migrants as unwelcome strangers we risk turning people who came to us desperately wanting to be friends into the enemies we fear… the grim news from the Netherlands shows that the Dutch have succeeded in doing exactly that.”

I think Phillips is wrong. The Netherlands has experienced an act of international terrorism that cannot be explained by Dutch circumstances alone. The man who killed the filmmaker Theo van Gogh was born in the Netherlands, and until…

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