Thursday, June 29, 2006

Hirsi Ali Row Brings Down Dutch Government

The Dutch government is resigning after losing the support of one of its coalition partners, says Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende.

D66, the coalition's smallest member, withdrew its support in a row over Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk.

Ms Verdonk had threatened to strip former politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali of her Dutch passport because of false information she gave in 1992.

Mr Balkenende said he would tender the government's resignation on Friday.

The D66 party pulled its support because Ms Verdonk, known as "Iron Rita" for her tough stance on immigration issues, refused to resign over her treatment of Ms Hirsi Ali.

Ms Hirsi Ali, 36, wrote a controversial film about the treatment of women in Islam, which was directed by Theo Van Gogh, who was later murdered by a Muslim extremist.

Mr Balkenende's announcement came after two days of debate in the parliament, where Ms Verdonk had done a U-turn on her stance on Ms Hirsi Ali, claiming she had found a legal loophole that would allow the Somali-born woman to stay.

The resignation of the government could lead to new elections in October.

This is what happens when people follow liars and anti-Muslim rabble rousers: chaos. Why the Dutch people allowed their country to be used by Ali is beyond me.

There are many practical lessons to be learned from this debacle. One of the most important is that a country of laws cannot allow politics and the shrill cries of attention seeking dissidents to trump its legal precepts and principles.

Lying on an asylum application in Holland is illegal and results in the offender being stripped of citizenship and deported. This is the law. Regardless of Ali's supposed value to Dutch society in her vehement denunciations of Islam, the rules cannot and should not be bent towards her will.

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