Rotterdam gets a Muslim mayor

2008-10-17 20:07
Amsterdam - Rotterdam, the second largest Dutch city, will have a Moroccan-born Muslim mayor from January 1, as Ahmed Aboutaleb was presented on Friday as future mayor by the city council.

The government still has to approve 47-year-old Aboutaleb's appointment, but this is considered a formality.

The Labour politician 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.

Aboutaleb was born in Morocco and migrated to the Netherlands at the age of 14. He is currently deputy minister of social affairs, and before served as an alderman in Amsterdam.

The second largest party of the Rotterdam city council, Leefbaar Rotterdam, responded furiously to development, slamming the fact that Aboutaleb has double nationality, Moroccan and Dutch.

This was supported by the national Freedom Party PVV, whose legislator Fleur Agema announced it would request an emergency debate in Parliament about Aboutaleb's likely appointment.

It is the second time in two years Aboutaleb's Moroccan citizenship has caused controversy in Dutch politics.

On his appointment as deputy minister, the Freedom Party also criticised the fact that Aboutaleb held double citizenship, "at the least creating the appearance of double loyalties," legislator Agema said.

Both the national Freedom party and the local Leefbaar Rotterdam advocate a strict immigration policy and harsh measures against crime by migrants.

However, Amsterdam Mayor Job Cohen (Labour) praised Aboutaleb, calling him "highly capable" - although he criticised the fact that Labour now has three mayoral posts of the Netherlands' four biggest cities, while it also occupies a majority in cities of intermediate size.

"Not having any mayor from the largest government party Christian Democrats will complicate receiving national funding for local projects," Cohen said.

Moroccan citizens cannot revoke their citizenship. Even their children born in the Netherlands are automatically Moroccan citizens.

Repeated Dutch attempts to negotiate with Morocco about granting its citizens the right to revoke their Moroccan citizenship have failed.

Some 45% of the 582 000 citizens of Rotterdam were not born in the Netherlands, or have foreign-born parents.

In Rotterdam, which has a broad range of socio-economic problems, crime involving the migrant community is an ongoing issue that causes tension with Dutch-born citizens. - Sapa-dpa

NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Top 10 richest musicians of all time

Check out the gallery to find out who they are!

 
 

Luxury living

10 of the most expensive things that will leave your jaw hanging!
Seven of the most expensive children's toys ever made
5 millionaires turned murderers
The youngest billionaires in the world and how they made it
Traffic Alerts
Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is a tendency towards setting your expectations too high which will result in disappointment. Try not to let your thoughts...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.