State Secretary of Defense Cees van der Knaap wants the first imams in the army to start working already this year. In an interview he says he hopes that his wish will be fulfilled within a short time.
Van der Knaap says that there are many possible recruits among immigrants and that "therefore we must create the requirements as well as the possibility [for them] to live their own culture and religion."
According to Van der Knaap the army can, in general, contribute greatly to the integration of immigration in society. More than that, it would radiate positively to the ethnic Dutch and the immigration community. Defense is consulting with Muslim organizations about providing imams for the army. "The talks are going slow but steady."
"It is naturally new for both sides." The army already has chaplains for Catholics, Protestants, Jews and Humanists and Hindus.
Last month Ven der Knaap organized a symposium in The Hague about recruiting more immigrants and women. This is necessary given the number of people who leave the army. According to Van der Knaap Defense realizes that it can't do without immigrants.
Source: Nu.nl (Dutch)
See also: Netherlands: Imam training leads to disagreement among Muslims, Muslim organizations fighting over imam appointments