Dutch PM says no to Trump's ban on Muslim asylum seekers

Mark Rutte
. Mark Rutte / Flicker

Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Minister Bert Koenders of Foreign Affairs are against a ban on entry for asylum seekers and people from seven Muslim countries that United President Donald Trump implemented over the weekend. They reject and regret this ban, the two Dutch officials said in a joint statement on Sunday, ANP reports.

"The Netherlands is convinced that refugees of war and violence deserve refuge regardless of their ethnicity or religion. We continue to carry out this view. We are alert to the possibility that potential terrorists abuse the asylum procedures. Security services have an important role to play here." Rutte and Koenders said. Koenders also said in a short statement that he is concerned about the legality and effects of the measure. He called it important that this  does not lead to discrimination and said he would keep a close eye on how it is implemented.

D66 leader Alexander Pechtold and GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver called on Rutte to condemn Trump's decree. Both called Rutte and Koenders' response insufficient. "There are moments when you feel: I can not remain silent, now I must stand up. This is such a moment", Pechtold said on Sunday morning, according to NOS. He also called the ban "absurd" on WNL op Zondag. 

Klaver said that the decree violates everything the Netherlands and United States stand for. "Discrimination on the basis of your faith. What a despicable measure from Trump against people from a number of Muslim countries who the U.S. no longer allow entry, even though they've lived in the country with a residency permit for years. Or they had permission to come over as an asylum seekers." he wrote on Facebook. "Our long friendship with the United States is built on shared values: freedom of religion, democracy, equality. That is the basis of our connection over the past centuries, and this should also be the basis of our common future."

PvdA leader and Deputy Prime Minister Lodewijk Asscher also condemned Trump's action. "Refusing people on the basis of religion or place of birth is discrimination. A slap in the face of our free world", he said on Twitter. 

PVV leader Geert Wilders praised Trump. "It's the only way to stay safe and free", he said, adding that he hopes Trump will also add Saudi Arabia and other Islamic countries to the list. He too was not satisfied with Rutte's response. "What a wimp. It is cowardly and dangerous to keep our borders open for Islam. The Netherlands needs less Islam and Less Rutte", he said on Twitter.

Yet despite the commotion around the measure, the ban is still being implemented, also in the Netherlands. On Saturday and Sunday KLM refused travelers from the seven countries on Trump's list on flights to the United States, according to NOS. On Saturday seven people were refused. On Sunday the Dutch airline confirmed that more people were told they couldn't go to America, but could not give an exact number. According to the broadcaster, other airlines are doing the same. 

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