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An Islamic Journey Inside Europe
Part Four: Testing the Tolerance of the Dutch

Listen Listen to Part Four of this series, heard Feb. 27, 2003

Muslim girls shop in downtown Amsterdam
Muslim girls walk down an Amsterdam shopping street.
Photo: Sylvia Poggioli, NPR News

Feb. 27, 2003 -- The Netherlands has long been considered the most tolerant of European nations -- marijuana is sold openly at state-sanctioned "coffee bars," prostitution is legal and regulated, and laws mandating equal rights for gays are a source of national pride.

But now, in a backlash against political correctness, the Dutch are reassessing their laissez-faire, multicultural immigration policy. New arrivals must now learn how to speak Dutch and take classes on the Dutch society's values.

Sylvia Poggioli reports from the port of Rotterdam, where some 30 percent of the city's population can trace their origins outside of Holland, and from Amsterdam.

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