AMSTERDAM — There were 945,000 Muslims living in the Netherlands on 1 January this year, double the amount in 1990, the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) said on Monday. The number is expected to reach 1 million in 2006.
The CBS said Turkish and Moroccan Muslims jointly represent two thirds of the total number of Islamic people living in the Netherlands. There are 328,000 Turkish Muslims in the Netherlands, followed by 295,000 Moroccans.
The Islamic community made up 5.8 percent of the Dutch population on 1 January 2004 and its numbers will swell in coming years. The CBS expects there will be more than a million Muslims living in the Netherlands in 2006.
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The figures are relevant because Muslims have been the target of toughening anti-immigration legislation in recent years. The Cabinet is particularly working to reduce the number Turkish and Moroccans moving here to join their partners.
Anti-immigrant politician Pim Fortuyn was the first to publicly claim that the Netherlands is full. Prior to his assassination in May 2002 he also accused Islam of being a “backward” culture.
Despite an initial outcry, his anti-immigration message has taken greater root in Dutch politics and Muslims and other foreigners are now being forced to integrate to help solve problems of social polarisation. It is part of a general shift against immigration in Dutch politics.
Meanwhile, the CBS said more than 95 percent of Muslims in the Netherlands are non-western, which means they originate from Turkey, Africa, Latin America and Asia, with the exception of Japan and Indonesia.
The CBS also said 54 percent of non-western immigrants in the Netherlands are Islamic.
The increase in the number of Muslims is due to both Immigration and natural population growth and the CBS said 38 percent of the non-western Muslims is second generation immigrants. This percentage has increased in the past six years.
Most Muslims live in the Amsterdam region, with 13 percent of the population Islamic. This is followed by The Hague (11.4) and Rotterdam (10.2), while in Friesland and Drenthe, the Islamic community makes up less than 2 percent of the population.
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