Friday, 18 November 2011

Prize-winning author fails Dutch integration test

A writer who last month won the EU’s literature prize on behalf of the Netherlands has failed his citizenship test and now has to go through a complete integration course, reports.
Rodaan Al Galidi came to the Netherlands in 1998 as a refugee from Iraq and was allowed to take the fast-track test to prove he had mastered all aspects of Dutch society.

The writer got 70% of the 30 questions right but should have scored 74% to pass.

Van Gogh

‘There were no questions about Van Gogh, the Nightwatch, windmills, the canals or Sint Maarten but questions such as ‘Mo lives on social security and wants to take his son to a crèche. Who has to pay?’, Al Galidi told the paper.

The questions were illustrated by short films featuring Mo and Amal. ‘To be fair, I think half the country would be embarrassed if they could see the films, and I don’t know what Moroccan nationals would think.’

There were also questions that only a woman could answer, Al Galidi said. ‘I don’t know when a woman has her periods again after a miscarriage because I have never been pregnant,’ he said.

The test was supposed to take 45 minutes to complete. 'I had to wait nine years in a refugee centre to prove I was a refugee,' Al Galidi is quoted as saying. 'And then I get 45 minutes to prove I am a good citizen? Bit of a shame that.'


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