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Thursday 18 December  
Road blocks in the Terweijde district of Culemborg - ANP
Klaas den Tek's picture
Culemborg, Netherlands
Culemborg, Netherlands

The Netherlands shocked by ethnic unrest

Published on : 5 January 2010 - 1:53pm | By Klaas den Tek
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The town of Culemborg in the middle of the Netherlands remains the scene of unrest between youths belonging to two ethnic minorities: Moroccans and Moluccans. The authorities have banned groups from hanging around on the streets for the next two weeks. Meanwhile, the conflict has spread as young Moroccans and Moluccans all over the Netherlands provoke each other on internet sites.

Tension between Dutch-Moroccan and Dutch-Moluccan youths in Culemborg has risen sharply in the last few months. There are street brawls and cars have been set on fire. A number of youths have been arrested, and street workers have been sent in, but up to now these measures haven’t helped much. On New Year’s Eve, police had to intervene once again to prevent the two groups from fighting.

Trivial row
A trivial row about a car that was damaged sparked the latest unrest. And that is always what happens, says sociologist Rudy Koopmans of the Free University in Amsterdam. In other countries, these kind of clashes escalate and become much more serious:

"It is all about competition for public space, but it could also be about competition on the labour market. It may be that a certain neighbourhood is dominated by shops owned by one ethnic group, like during the riots in Birmingham in Great Britain a few years ago."

Police have been given special powers in the Terweijde district of Culemborg. There is a ban on gatherings of four people or more on the streets, and roads have been blocked to keep the rival groups apart.

Christian Moluccans
Around 65 Moluccan families live in the neighbourhood. Their community originally came from the Moluccan islands in what was once the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia). They came to the Netherlands in 1950, when Indonesia gained independence. The Christian Moluccans had fought alongside the Dutch against the Muslim Indonesian independence fighters. The Moluccan community has a strong ethnic identity as a group in the Netherlands.

Reverend Nah Sahuleka is a Moluccan living in Culemborg. He says the current conflict between the two groups started in September last year. It began when a car belonging to a Moluccan resident was damaged by Moroccan youths.

"I know what we Moluccans are like. We won’t be driven into a corner. Whatever it costs, we try to defend the area we live in. It is in our genes. We are like our forefathers, who fought alongside the Dutch in Indonesia."

Internet sites
Meanwhile Dutch-Moroccan and Dutch-Moluccan youths throughout the Netherlands are provoking each other on various websites. Sometimes the reactions are based on religious divisions. A majority of Moluccans in the Netherlands are Christian; the Moroccan community is mainly Muslim. The conflict in Culemborg has got nothing to do with religion, says Reverend Nah Sahuleka:

"I have good relations with Moroccans. I think some parents have trouble keeping their children under control. I have the idea that this is more of a problem in Moroccan families. In Moluccan families, there is more respect for the authority of parents. The commandment ‘honour your father and your mother’ is still held high."

According to Mr Sahuleka it is impossible to see either of the two groups as the wrongdoers or as the victims. The youths react to one another and then the violence escalates.

Although, there has been no serious violence, says sociologist Koopmans:

"We are not used to seeing this kind of thing in the Netherlands - which is good, and that is why we should take it seriously. But we shouldn’t make too much out of it and turn it into a national problem when it is really just about an age-old form of rivalry which has happened to culminate in violence between two groups with different ethnic backgrounds."

RNW translation (nc)


jasmin 11 January 2010 - 1:08pm / India

Wonder why is The Netherlands shocked by ethnic unrest!!! The writing has been on the wall for long. Or do they need special glasses to decipher it?

kizoushaidan 11 January 2010 - 10:31am / Italy


Lies should be used to cover a temporary patch... and not a permanent intent.

The more people is "coward" against a mild threat...
...the more will become angry and merciless when decides there is no other solution than the clash.

Beware, for the great aravian god may decide to turn your lie in truth.

davaro1 20 January 2010 - 12:10pm / Netherlands


As you can see my comment has been deleted, probably because I used the most Taboo word " Israel" I don't even know what you refer as a lie...but if you read my reply to Hiram, you'll see I stand by my "lie" and hopefully this lie will become your truth soon!

Mindessparrot 11 January 2010 - 9:05am / Italy

As a person who lived in an African colony, which was progressing quite nicely until lefty liberal Western Europeans, and especially Northern Europeans, arrived with their selective "human rights" cr*p and screwed up the country I lived in, it is with some grim satisfaction that I am watching the same thing happen to you.
I am having a laugh as I watch you slowly become colonized by your former subjects and see your stupid Stockholm Syndrome type of justifications for what is going on. Yet you refuse to see the reality of a dangerous religious cult which time and time again has stated very openly that it wants to sujugate you, reduce you to second class citizen status right in your homes. My full support goes to the Moluccans for they at least know what they are up against.
The average person in Holland, Denmark,Britain, Sweden and Norway instead is still sleeping, and keeps on listening to the establishment media, which seeks to keep you asleep while the rug is being pulled from underneath you.
I laugh at you, because your own very belief in democracy and human rights is preventing you from defending yourselves, whereas there should be no tolerance for intolerance, and ideologies and religions should be freely discussed without fear of censorship. You are cowards though you pretend not to be and disguise your shame, your fear and inability to defend yourselves under the guise of tolerance and a myriad of other excuses. Like I said, just like the Stockholm Syndrome, you justify the aggressor.
The followers of the "religion of peace" know this, they smell your fear like the predatory prophet they follow, and this makes them even more hungry.
I laugh at your because the silly policies and NGO pressure-group diktats you have been following since 1968, are now coming back to bit you in the backside.
You have sown the seeds which will destroy your children's future.
Time to wake up and be politically incorrect if you want to survive. There is no other choice but to defend Holland, and Europe as a whole. Being inclusive of other cultures does not mean one should accept adherents of a religion which is intolerance and hatred incarnate and whose followrs still seek to justify today that they should do just like their prophet who married a little girl of 7 and raped her when she was 9. Yes these people approve of these acts today.
Wake up and smell the coffee, before these people come knocking on your door at night.

By the way as you can see here in Italy we have had our riots too, but we at least have not been as stupid all these years to drink up all the lefty propaganda. Maybe it will be a good thing to have some nice Northern Europeans come down as refugees sometime in the near future, when you have full scale civil war waged on you by the very people you stupidly welcomed in your country: MALMO DOCET

Hiram 6 January 2010 - 11:15pm / USA

"Go back to Israel if you want to erase Arabs from the earth...they are doing a good job already!!!"....If in France they are good kids but treated as second-class citizens, why are they did try to burn down France via riots? Good kids just don't burn down cities! Even in the Netherlands, good kids don't destory neighbourhoods via riots. Something wrong with your logic. { You stated "They are treated as second-class citizens, eventhough 40 % of that youth has finished university studies in France as education is free, but 90 % of those youngsters are tell me whose fault is that???"....It wasn't the fault of the people who they hurt during the riots by burning and destroying the cities. What did they have to do those who didn't get jobs? There are a lot of cities throughout the world with worse conditions than France and they, the unemployed, don't burn down the cities and destroy the lives of others. Why did they burn France? It wasn't because they were unemployed but their mentality that everyone, including the govt of France, owed them a living. You would think college educated students would know better because they were enlightened with a higher education but it appears their hate suppressed their education. No, France owed them nothing but the free education (and they didn't owe them the an education from a university) in which you sais they got free. Does France have the responsibility to give them work, free food, all of their lives? Someone has to pay for those taxes to support those good kids who destroy the lives of innocent people. { If I started a company and everyone who came along had a resume, doesn't mean I should have to employ them. A company can't stay in business and have to hire everyone who wants a job? I didn't start a business to give jobs to everyone but to make a profit (unless you are a business in France). Emer (Imir), I see you are arguing from a race and religion or you wouldn't have made Israel and issue or by using my "Zionist" name. It doesn't change the fact those good kids in the Netherlands weren't fighting for turf but for religious reasons and left unchecked will only support Wilders claim of the hate spreading accross NL and the EU. He is right about a lot of things and time will support his case. Have a good day.

davaro1 20 January 2010 - 12:02pm / Netherlands

Your arguments are so demagogic hiram, which is why I used the ":zionist"word, and you proved you were pretty solidar with that ideology with your answer.

I'm talking about French youngsters, that are born there and studied there, who mostly know nothing about the country from their parents. So they feel more French than anything else. But the governement still calls them the young Muslims, the young Africans...and this brings another feature of the racist government of France.
You're talking about making profit, and not helping out the social figure of your country...I guess we cannot expect anything from someone like you...I'm not talking about making business in Africa or Asia...I'm talking about French citizens!!! It's not like I find it more acceptable to do this in Africa or Asia but in the mind of someone like you who prefers to make profit rather than participate into building a society, the example was relevant.

You're talking real bullshit, because those people are tax payers it's only normal they want back what they paid for all those years...don't forget the parents of those kids have built France and Europe and have worked ion the worst conditions just to get a better future for their kids who are French as they are born in that country...

You are making it all about Religion, because this is how your hasbara/propaganda works...I'm talking about social facts, which you never heard about I'm sure...I 'll tell you what the day the "Muslim kids"( I am not the one calling them this way) get the same rights than the "white Judeo-Christian" French...I'll say you were was about religion!

Time will support the case of Wilders as long as we have people like you, having this hatred for a race and religion and think all your unfortunes are caused by the Nazis told the German people some time ago, if you still remember.

Lavern 6 January 2010 - 10:25am / Amsterdam

Most of you people just don't know how to talk to these young people. The fear of them just won't help you to learn what is going on with them. Because what they may reveal, may reflect our own short comings.

sandrav 6 January 2010 - 9:56am / Nederlands

These punks don´t fear the laws because they know as soon as they are arrested, they are back out on the street with a slap on the hands! The justice system is way too soft, we need a tougher justice system! In the mean time, innocent families are being victimized because of the unrest created by these thugs!

Hiram 6 January 2010 - 12:16am / usa

"We are not used to seeing this kind of thing in the Netherlands - which is good, and that is why we should take it seriously. But we shouldn’t make too much out of it and turn it into a national problem when it is really just about an age-old form of rivalry which has happened to culminate in violence between two groups with different ethnic backgrounds."........Didn't you watch the news of the riots, burning of cars and buildings, and assualts by a specific miniority (now becoming the majority at a very fast rate) group in France just a few years ago? Before, they starting rioting in France, the French people weren't used to seeing such things, either? Does something have to happen to your country before you start to see the epidimic of religious hate burning cross Europe? You didn't pay attention to the hate when Hitler and his kind starting burning and destroying Jewish bulidings and you are too blind to see the hate rising in Europe, now. It more than gangs but the religious backgrounds of the rioters. { The statement: "But we shouldn’t make too much out of it and turn it into a national problem when it is really just about an age-old form of rivalry which has happened to culminate in violence between two groups with different ethnic backgrounds.".........It is a national problem not just for the Dutch but for all of the world. The statement is a cop-out just like the 1930s cop-out with Hitler and his ilk. Wilders is right!

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