Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk has introduced a bill that would require some Dutch citizens to pass a test of “Dutchness.” Since March, immigrants arriving from non-Western countries have had to take the exam, which covers the history of the Netherlands, the Dutch language, and Dutch culture. Verdonk’s bill would extend the requirement to those who came to the country earlier, even people who have lived and voted in the Netherlands for decades. Opposition leaders denounced the bill as discriminatory. But Verdonk said society had a “legitimate interest” in drawing a distinction between native-born and naturalized citizens. If the bill passes, half a million people, mostly Muslims, will have to take the test.
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