Ahmed Aboutaleb, a Moroccan-born Dutch politician holding dual citizenship – Dutch as well as Moroccan – has been appointed mayor of Rotterdam, the second largest city in the Netherlands. Aboutaleb, a member of the Dutch Labour party PvdA, is currently secretary of state (deputy minister) of social affairs, and an inhabitant of Amsterdam rather than Rotterdam.
The Dutch blogger Klein Verzet writes:
From what I know of Aboutaleb, I see no reason to consider him any less, yes even a lot better, then the majority of our current crop of indigenous ‘leaders.’ As far as I know he was the *only* one, who, in the wake of the van Gogh murder, had the courage to say out loud that those who do not subscribe to the Dutch notions of freedom and society should pack their bags and move. Aboutaleb is viewed by much of the Moroccan population in Holland, as a ‘traitor,’ because of this.
In the past Aboutaleb has shown no inclination to favouritism towards Dutch-Moroccans, or muslims (not that I’m aware of, anyway). He has shown himself to be a relatively effective functionary. The manner of his nomination, however, is a completely different matter. Mayors are traditionally appointed by the crown, but recent months saw some experimenting with binding referenda (Utrecht, Eindhoven) in which the citizenry were given the choice between two short-listed candidates. That also was the biggest bone of contention yesterday. Aboutaleb wasn’t even on the short-list. All of a sudden he was put forward as a candidate. […]
Anti-islam though I am, I have nothing against the person of Aboutaleb. In matters of integration and islam he has shown himself to be much more sober and straightforward then many of our indigenous politicians. If the majority of muslims were as intelligent and courageous (and truly integrated) as he was, we wouldn’t be in the mess we are in.
Aboutaleb migrated to the Netherlands at the age of 14. He is the first mayor to be born and raised outside the Netherlands. He is also the first Muslim to become a mayor in the Netherlands. Some 45 percent of the 582,000 citizens of Rotterdam are of foreign origin.
Geert Wilders, the leader of the Dutch Freedom Party, which opposes Islam, criticized the appointment of Aboutaleb. Two years ago, when Aboutaleb became a member of the Dutch government, Wilders demanded that Aboutaleb renounce his Moroccan citizenship.
“Appointing a Moroccan as mayor of the second largest Dutch city is just as ridiculous as appointing a Dutchman as mayor of Mecca,” Wilders says, adding that Aboutaleb “should become mayor of Rabat in Morocco.” Wilders insists that Aboutaleb shows where his loyalty lies by renouncing his Moroccan citizenship.