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Fighting to stay in the Netherlands

Anu Anand | 16:37 UK time, Wednesday, 15 March 2006

Today, we're trying to speak to Taida Pasic. Taida's family fled Kosovo during the war to the Netherlands, where they lived for six years until the Dutch government told them they had to leave.

Taida and her supporters are now fighting parliament, the courts and public opinion to allow her to stay in the Netherlands long enough to complete her final exams in May.

We're going to look attitudes towards immigration in the Netherlands. Are you trying to emigrate to the Netherlands? Are you Dutch? What are your views of immigration?

Taida's story begins when her family fled the violence in Kosovo for the Netherlands.

They found refuge in Holland, where they lived for six years, before the Dutch authorities rejected their application to stay and sent them back.

But Taida, pining for her friends, and her school, snuck back into the country on a French tourist visa last January and returned to her school in the town Winterswijk, near the German border, where she's been taken in by a friend's family.

Taida and her supporters are now fighting to allow her to stay in the Netherlands long enough to complete her final exams in May.

More than 7,000 people have signed a petition supporting her, and she's had nearly 100 marriage proposals.

But the Dutch interior minister, Rita Verdonk, has described her entry into Holland as a 'fraud', and is determined that no exceptions should be made to stringent Dutch immigration laws-- even if Taida has become a cause celebre-- a modern Muslim girl (not to mention photogenic) who, in her jeans and make-up, looks like any European teen.

We're also talking about Dutch attitudes towards immigrants on the day the government launches an immigration quiz covering the language and culture of Holland.

The quiz also includes a DVD given to prospective immigrants. The DVD includes images of two men kissing in a park and a topless woman sun-bather, as well as some of the crime-ridden ghettos where poorer migrants might end up. The aim is to see whether they're able to accept the country's values.


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