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Geert Wilders


Incumbent
Assumed office 
23 November 2006

Incumbent
Assumed office 
26 July 2002

In office
25 August 1998 – 23 May 2002

Born 6 September 1963 (1963-09-06) (age 46)
Venlo, Netherlands
Political party People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (1998-2006)
Party for Freedom (2006–)
Spouse(s) Krisztina Wilders
(1992-present)
Alma mater Open University
Occupation Politician
Religion None (atheist)
Website http://www.geertwilders.nl

Geert Wilders (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈxeːrt ˈʋɪldərs] or [ˈʝeːʁt ˈʋɪldəʁs]; born 6 September 1963) is a Dutch politician and leader of the Party for Freedom, a political party in the Netherlands. Born in the city of Venlo, raised as a Roman Catholic and having left the Church at his coming of age, Wilders attributes his politics to his support for what he calls 'Judeo-Christian values'. He formed many of his political views on his travels to Israel, as well as the neighbouring Arab countries. His early job at the Dutch social insurance agency propelled him into politics, where he worked as a speechwriter for the conservative-liberal People's Party for Freedom and Democracy. In 1996, he moved to the city of Utrecht, where he was elected to the city council and later to the House of Representatives of the Netherlands.

Citing irreconcilable differences over the party's position on Turkish accession to the European Union, Wilders left the People's Party in 2004 to form his own party, the Party for Freedom. Since then, he has been outspoken on a number of issues such as immigration, freedom of speech, and Islam.[1] He has pleaded, for instance, for a hard line against what he called the "street terror" exerted by minorities in Dutch cities.[2] [3]. His controversial 2008 film about Islam in the Netherlands, Fitna, has received international attention. On 21 January 2009, the Amsterdam Court of Appeal ordered his prosecution for what it said was "the incitement to hatred and discrimination".[4] Wilders was also controversially banned from entering the United Kingdom between 12 February 2009 and 13 October 2009, with the Home Office viewing his presence as a "threat to one of the fundamental interests of society".[5][6] The ban was overturned after Wilders appealed. He visited the UK on October 16, 2009,[7] and again in March 2010, to show his film.

In March 2010, it was announced that a documentary film about Geert Wilders was due to be released in the United States; Wilders himself was writing a book and producing a sequel to his film, both to be released after the parliamentary elections in the Netherlands in June 2010.[8]

Contents

Early life and career

Wilders was born in the city of Venlo, Netherlands, in the province of Limburg on the southern Dutch border with Germany. He is the youngest of four children,[9] and was raised Catholic.[10] His father worked as a manager for the printing and copying manufacturing company Océ.[11] His father fled the area to escape the Nazis and became so traumatised from the experience that he refused to physically enter Germany even forty years later. Wilders speculates that his father may have had some Jewish ancestry.[12]

Wilders' mother was born in Sukabumi, Dutch East Indies.[13] In a biography, Wilders himself seems to play down his Indo heritage.[14] Anthropologist Lizzy van Leeuwen analyses Wilders' Eastern heritage with the concept of displacedness, and classifies his standpoints as "post-colonial revanchism". This analysis is met with agreement in Indo communities.[13] However, in an interview, Wilders denied van Leeuwens' speculations.[15]

Wilders received his secondary education at the Mavo and Havo middle school and high school in Venlo. Reflecting passions that came to the fore later in his career, Wilders took a course in health insurance at the Stichting Opleiding Sociale Verzekeringen in Amsterdam and earned several law certificates at the Dutch Open University.

Wilders' goal after he graduated from secondary school was to see the world. Because he did not have enough money to travel to Australia, his preferred destination, he went to Israel instead.[12] For several years he volunteered in a moshav and worked for several firms, becoming in his own words "a true friend of Israel".[16] With the money he saved, he travelled to the neighbouring Arab countries, and was moved by the lack of democracy in the region. When he went back to the Netherlands, he retained Israeli ideas about counterterrorism and a "special feeling of solidarity" for the country.[17]

Living in Utrecht, Wilders initially worked in the health insurance industry. His interest in the subject led him into politics as a speech-writer for the Netherlands' People's Party for Freedom and Democracy.[12][18] He started his formal political career as a parliamentary assistant to Minister Frits Bolkestein, specialising in foreign policy. He held this job from 1990 to 1998. During this time Geert Wilders travelled extensively,[19] visiting countries all across the Middle East, including Iran, Syria, Jordan, Egypt and Israel. Minister Bolkestein was one of the first Dutch politicians to address mass immigration, and he set an example for Wilders not only in his ideas but also in his confrontational speaking style.[12][19]

Political career

Utrecht within the Netherlands.

In 1997, Wilders was elected for the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) to the municipal council of Utrecht, the fourth largest city of the Netherlands.[18][19] He lived in Kanaleneiland, a suburb with cheap social housing and high apartment blocks, thus full of immigrants. While a city councilor, Wilders was mugged in his own neighbourhood; some have speculated that this may have catalysed his political transformation.[12][20] He was not rewarded for his time on the municipal council of Utrecht, for in the following elections he would score well below the national average in the University city.[21]

A year later, he was elected to the Netherlands' national parliament,[18] but his first four years in parliament drew little attention.[19] However, his appointment in 2002 as a public spokesman for the VVD led Wilders to become more well known for his outspoken criticism of Islamic extremism. Tensions immediately developed within the party, as Wilders found himself to be to the right of most members, and challenged the party line in his public statements.[9] In September 2004, Wilders left the VVD, having been a member since 1989, to form his own political party, Groep Wilders, later renamed the Party for Freedom.[22] His final dispute with the party was about his refusal to endorse the party's position that European Union accession negotiations must be started with Turkey.[19]

The Party for Freedom's political platform often overlaps those of the assassinated Rotterdam politician Pim Fortuyn and his Pim Fortuyn List [18]. After his death, Fortuyn's impact remained, as more and more politicians angled for political mileage by directly confronting topics such as a ban on immigration that were, from a 'politically correct' point of view, considered unmentionable in the Netherlands until Fortuyn came on the scene and upended the Dutch tradition of consensus politics with an anti-immigrant stance. Wilders would position himself to inherit Fortuyn's constituency [23]. He bases his ideas on an ideological framework of small government, law and order and direct democracy. The Party for Freedom call for a 16 billion tax reduction, a far stricter policy toward recreational drug use, investing more in roads and other infrastructure, building nuclear power plants and including animal rights in the Dutch constitution.[24] In the 2006 Dutch parliamentary election, their first parliamentary election, the Party for Freedom won 9 out of the 150 open seats.[25]

In March 2009, in a party meeting in Venlo, Wilders said "I want to be prime minister", believing the PVV will eventually become the Netherlands’ biggest party. "At some point it’s going to happen and then it will be a big honour to fulfil the post of prime minister"[26].

Polling conducted throughout March 2009 by Maurice de Hond indicated that the Party for Freedom was the most popular parliamentary party. The polls predicted that the party would take 21 per cent of the national vote, winning 32 out of 150 seats in the Dutch parliament[27]. If the polling results were to be replicated in an official election, Wilders could be a major power broker. Under such circumstances, there would also be some likelihood of him becoming Prime Minister of the Netherlands.[28][29] This has been partially attributed to timely prosecution attempts against him for hate speech and the travel ban imposed on him by the United Kingdom,[30] as well as dissatisfaction with government response to the global financial crisis of 2008–2009.[27]

On March 3, 2010, elections for the local councils were held in the municipalities of The Netherlands. The PVV only contested these local elections in the Dutch towns The Hague and Almere, because of a shortage of good candidates. The big gains that were scored indicated that the party and Wilders might dominate the political scene in the run-up to the parliamentary elections scheduled on June 9, 2010. The PVV won in Almere and came second to the Dutch Labour party in The Hague. In Almere, the PVV won 21 percent of the vote to Labour's 18 percent, preliminary results showed. In The Hague, the PVV had 8 seats -- second to Labour with 10 seats. On March 8, 2010, Wilders announced that he would take a seat on the Hague city council, afterit became clear he won 13,000 preference votes. Earlier he had said he would not take up a seat if he won [31] [32].

Political views

Political principles

Wilders started off his political development under his mentor, Frits Bolkestein.

Wilders generally considers himself to be a libertarian, with a specific mix of positions independent of the European political spectrum and particular to iconoclastic Dutch society. He has stated that "My allies are not Le Pen or Haider... We'll never join up with the fascists and Mussolinis of Italy. I'm very afraid of being linked with the wrong rightist fascist groups," saying instead the his drive is issues such as freedom of expression and Dutch iconoclasm .[33]. Wilders views British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher as his greatest political role model.[33] People's Party for Freedom and Democracy figure Frits Bolkestein also heavily influenced his beliefs.[19]

Wilders strongly opposes the Dutch political system in general. He believes that there is a ruling elite of parliamentarians who only care about their own personal careers and disregard the will of the people. He also blames the Dutch system of multi-party coalition governments for a lack of clear and effective policies.[19] In his view, Dutch society advocates rule by consensus and cultural relativism, while he believes that this should change so as to "not tolerate the intolerant".[34]

On foreign relations, Wilders has largely supported Israel and has criticised countries he perceives as enemies of Israel.[17] Furthermore, he has made some proposals in the Dutch Parliament inspired by Israeli policies. For example, he supports implementing Israel's administrative detention in the Netherlands, a practice heavily criticized by human rights groups, which he calls "common sense".[34]

Furthermore, Wilders has revived the ancient idea of reuniting Flanders and the Netherlands.[35]

Wilders published his political manifesto, called Klare Wijn ("Clear Wine"), in March 2005.[22] It received a mixed reception in public polls, with 53% calling it "implausible" and 47% more supportive.[36] The program proposed ten key points to be implemented:

  • Considerable reduction of taxes and state regulations.
  • Replacement of the present Article 1 of the Dutch constitution, guaranteeing equality under the law, by a clause stating the cultural dominance of the Christian, Jewish and humanist traditions.
  • Reduction of the influence of the European Union, which may no longer be expanded with new member states, especially Turkey; the European Parliament will be abolished. Dutch financial contributions to the European Union should be reduced by billions of euros.
  • An immigration ban of five years for immigrants from non-western countries. Foreign residents will no longer have the right to vote in municipal elections.
  • A five-year ban on the founding of mosques and Islamic schools; a permanent ban on preaching in any language other than Dutch. Foreign imams will not be allowed to preach. Radical mosques will be closed and radical Muslims will be expelled.
  • Restoration of educational standards, with an emphasis on the educational value of the family.
  • Introduction of binding referenda and elected mayors, chiefs of police and prime ministers.
  • Introduction of minimum penalties, and higher maximum penalties; introduction of administrative detention for terrorist suspects. Street terrorism will be punished by boot camps and denaturalisation and deportation of immigrant offenders.
  • Restoration of respect and better rewards for teachers, policemen, health care workers and military personnel.
  • Instead of complicated reorganisation, a more accessible and humane health care system, especially for elderly citizens.[37]

Views on Islam

Part of a series on
Controversies related to Islam and Muslims

Criticism of Islam

Islam · Muhammad · Qur'an · Islamism

Issues

Dhimmi · Eurabia · Islamism · Sharia
Jihad · Pan-Islamism · Qutbism
Apostasy in Islam
Divisions of the world in Islam
Islam and domestic violence
Islam and antisemitism
Islam and slavery
Freedom of religion in Iran
Homosexuality and Islam
Islamophobia · Attitudes towards terrorism

Activities

Islamic terrorism
Muslim persecution of Buddhists
Persecution of Bahá'ís
Muslim persecution of Christians
Persecution of Hindus
Wadda Ghallooghaaraa
Chhotaa Ghallooghaaraa
Persecution of Shia Muslims
The Satanic Verses controversy
Namus · Honor killings
Death by stoning

Notable modern critics

Ayaan Hirsi Ali · Irshad Manji
Daniel Pipes · Philippe de Villiers
Alexandre del Valle · Ibn Warraq
Geert Wilders · Oriana Fallaci
Robert Spencer · Theo van Gogh
Afshin Ellian · Salman Rushdie
Ahmad Kasravi · Taha Hussein
Turan Dursun · Wafa Sultan
Lord Pearson

Related events since 2001

Wilders is best known for his criticism of Islam, summing up his views by saying, "I don't hate Muslims, I hate Islam"[33]. Although identifying Islamic extremists as a small 5-15% minority of Muslims,[34] he argues that "there is no such thing as 'moderate Islam'" and that the "Koran also states that Muslims who believe in only part of the Koran are in fact apostates".[38] He suggests that Muslims should "tear out half of the Koran if they wished to stay in the Netherlands" because it contains 'terrible things' and that Muhammad would "... in these days be hunted down as a terrorist"[39].

On August 8, 2007, Wilders opined in an open letter[40] to the Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant that the Koran, which he called a "fascist book", should be outlawed in the Netherlands, like Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf.[41] He has stated that "The book incites hatred and killing and therefore has no place in our legal order"[42]. He has also referred to Mohammed as "the devil".[16] In September 2009, he made a public speech advocating a €1000 a year ($1500) excise tax on wearing headscarves.[43]

He believes that all Muslim immigration to the Netherlands should be halted and all settled immigrants should be paid to leave.[33] Referring to the increased population of Muslims in the Netherlands, he has said:

"Take a walk down the street and see where this is going. You no longer feel like you are living in your own country. There is a battle going on and we have to defend ourselves. Before you know it there will be more mosques than churches!"[44]

In a speech before the Dutch Parliament, he stated:

Islam is the Trojan Horse in Europe. If we do not stop Islamification now, Eurabia and Netherabia will just be a matter of time. One century ago, there were approximately 50 Muslims in the Netherlands. Today, there are about 1 million Muslims in this country. Where will it end? We are heading for the end of European and Dutch civilisation as we know it. Where is our Prime Minister in all this?

In reply to my questions in the House he said, without batting an eyelid, that there is no question of our country being Islamified. Now, this reply constituted a historical error as soon as it was uttered. Very many Dutch citizens, Madam Speaker, experience the presence of Islam around them. And I can report that they have had enough of burkas, headscarves, the ritual slaughter of animals, so‑called honour revenge, blaring minarets, female circumcision, hymen restoration operations, abuse of homosexuals, Turkish and Arabic on the buses and trains as well as on town hall leaflets, halal meat at grocery shops and department stores, Sharia exams, the Finance Minister's Sharia mortgages, and the enormous overrepresentation of Muslims in the area of crime, including Moroccan street terrorists.[38]

Nonetheless, Wilders has traveled widely in the Arab world and Der Spiegel has stated that Wilders will "wax poetic" over those "magnificent countries". Wilders has also said that "It's a real shame that these places are so chaotic."[12]

Wilders and Israel

Wilders lived in Israel for two years during his youth and has visited the country 40 times in the last 25 years.[45]

Wilders stated about Israel: "I have visited many interesting countries in the Middle East (Tunisia, Turkey, Cyprus, Iran) but nowhere did I have the special feeling of brotherhood that I always get when I land on Ben Gurion International Airport.[17] Dutch public TV channel Nederland 2's daily news programme Netwerk reported, that numerous American supporters of Israel financially supported Wilders' Party for Freedom (PVV) and openly approved of his message towards Islam and Islamic terrorism.[46] Wilders told an audience during the report that "We [in the West] are all Israel".[46] He has also said "Israel is the West's first line of defence" against what he perceives to be a threat posed by Islam.[47]

Fitna

The film displays a verse from the Koran beside images of the September 11 attacks.

Fitna is a 2008 short film written and commissioned by Wilders that explores Koranic-inspired motivations for terrorism, Islamic universalism, and Islam in the Netherlands. Its title comes from the Arabic word fitna, which describes "disagreement and division among people" or a "test of faith in times of trial".[48]

It is the subject of an international controversy and debate on free speech.[49] Despite the legal troubles surrounding the film, Wilders insists that before he released it, he consulted numerous lawyers in the field, who found nothing worth prosecution. Jordan has summoned Wilders to court, with the film deemed to "incite hatred".[50] Al-Qaeda issued a call to murder Wilders after its release.[51]

In the spring of 2009, Wilders launched the "Facing Jihad World Tour", a series of screenings of Fitna to public officials and influential organizations around the globe, starting in Rome.[52] In the United States, Wilders showed the film to the United States Congress on February 26, having been invited by Arizona Republican Senator Jon Kyl.[53] Around 40 people attended the screening.[28] American Muslims protested, but the groups said that they supported his right of free speech while still condemning his opinions.[53] Wilders spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference on February 28.[54] He appeared before the National Press Club and the Republican Jewish Coalition that week as well.[55] Similar attempts in Britain led to a travel ban,[51] and legislative blocks have prevented an appearance in Denmark.[56]

Personal life

On 10 November 2004, two suspected terrorists were captured after an hour-long siege of a building in The Hague. They were in possession of three grenades and were accused of planning to murder Geert Wilders as well as then fellow MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali.[57] The suspects were presumed to be members of what the Dutch intelligence agency, the General Intelligence and Security Service, has termed the Hofstadgroep. Since this incident Wilders has been under constant security protection because of frequent threats to his life.[58] In September 2007, a Dutch woman was sentenced to a one-year prison term for sending more than 100 threatening emails to Wilders. [59] [60] Geert Wilders remained the most threatened politician in the Netherlands in 2008.[61]

On December 18, 2009, the Rotterdam rapper Mo$heb was sentenced to 80 hours community service and a two-month suspended jail term for threatening Wilders in a rap titled "Wie iz de volgende" ("Who's next"), which included that if he met Wilders, it would be "bam bam". The rapper also called on Wilders to take back his words if he wanted to stay alive and said "This is no joke. Last night I dreamed I chopped your head off". The public prosecutor said the threat could reasonably lead to Wilders fearing for his life or that he would be subjected to violence. The court agreed with this conclusion and said the rap was threatening. "A politician must be able to do his work", the judges said [62].

Geert Wilders is said to have been "deprived... of a personal life for his... hatred of Islam"[12]. He is moved by his state-provided bodyguards to a different location every night, and cannot receive visitors unless they are carefully screened and escorted at all times.[63] He is married to a DutchHungarian former diplomat, with whom he can only meet about once every week because of security concerns.[12] The restrictions on his life because of this, he said, are "a situation that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy".[10]

In January 2010, Karen Geurtsen, a Dutch journalist from the magazine HP-De Tijd, revealed a painful breach of security. She spent four months working undercover, posing as an intern, for the PVV party. She claimed that she had had unchecked access to Wilders. "I could have killed him", were the first words of the article that she published about this operation. According to her, she had "dozens" of opportunities to take his life [64].

Wilders has acquired nicknames such as "Mozart" and "Captain Peroxide" because of his flamboyant platinum blond hairstyle.[18] Radio Netherlands calls him "the most famous bleach-blond since Marilyn Monroe".[65]

Wilders is an atheist,[10][66] but he has stated that he thinks Dutch Christians "are my allies" and that they fundamentally should want the same thing.[66]

Public reception

Wilders has become a controversial figure[12][67] with polarized opinions[68] on him from world news media. He has been labelled as both "extreme right"[69] and far right[20][51], and defended by others as a mainstream politician with legitimate concerns[70] saying that such labels are shallow smear attempts. Wilders himself rejects the labels and has called the new description “scandalous”[71]. He has been accused of building his popularity on fear and resentment[72][73] and vociferously defended for having the courage to talk openly about the problems unfettered immigration brings with it and the incompatibility of fundamentalist Islam with western values.[74]

Wilders holds significant popularity amongst the Dutch people. In December 2009, Wilders came in second in two polls in the Netherlands for Politician of the Year. A panel of Dutch television viewers praised him as "the second best" politician this year (after his outspoken critic Pechtold), while his colleagues in parliament named him "the second worst" (after Verdonk) [75].

Some Muslim critics of Wilders accuse him of using Koranic verses out of context.[76] Because of Wilders' perceived positions on Islam, the Dutch–Moroccan rapper Appa, when interviewed about Wilders for a newspaper, said "if someone were to put a bullet in his head, I wouldn't mind".[77] Wilders' views on Islam prompted the Muslim Mayor of Rotterdam, Ahmed Aboutaleb, to severely reprimand him.[78]

On 15 December 2007, Wilders was declared "Politician of the Year" by NOS-radio, a mainstream Dutch radio station. The parliamentary press praised his ability to dominate political discussion and to attract the debate and to get into publicity with his well-timed one-liners.[79] The editors eventually gave the title to Wilders because he was the only one who scored high amongst both the press and the general public.[80][81]

Editorials by Alternet, The Montreal Gazette, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, and The New York Times have accused Wilders of hypocrisy given that, in their view, Wilders has called for the ban of the sale of the Koran while simultaneously arguing for his own personal freedom of speech.[55][82][83][84] In a speech during a Dutch parliamentary debate, Wilders elaborated that he calls for the consistent application of Dutch laws restricting any act of expression that incites violence.[38] Ideally, he would prefer to see nearly all such laws abolished.[36][85][86] As such, he supports a European-wide constitutional protection of freedom of speech like that which exists in the United States.[86]

Wilders has also been compared to the assassinated fellow critic of Islam and filmmaker Theo van Gogh, but he does not see himself as taking on van Gogh's mantle.[10] Wilders has stated that he supports the free speech rights of his critics, saying that "An Imam who wants a politician dead is - however reprehensible - allowed to say so".[36] He has responded to charges of racism and Islamophobia by stating, "I don't hate Muslims. I hate their book and their ideology".[33]

In February 2010, the trailer of a newly published online satirical video on the website of the Dutch radio station FunX, which targets a young urban audience, spoofed a murder attempt on Wilders [87]

Wilders and the United Kingdom

Ban on entering the United Kingdom

Baroness Cox invited Wilders.

Lord Pearson of Rannoch and Baroness Cox, members of the House of Lords (the upper chamber of the British Parliament), invited Wilders to a 12 February 2009 showing of Fitna in the Palace of Westminster.[88] Two days before the showing, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith banned Wilders from entering the territory of the United Kingdom, labelling him an "undesirable person".[5][89] Entry was denied under EU law, and reportedly supported under regulation 19 of the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006, an EU law which allows a member state to refuse entry to individuals if they are regarded as constituting a threat to public policy, security or health.[51] A Home Office spokesperson elaborated that "The Government opposes extremism in all its forms ... and that was the driving force behind tighter rules on exclusions for unacceptable behaviour that the Home Secretary announced in October last year"[51].

Wilders defied the ban and entered via London Heathrow Airport on 12 February, trailed by television crews. He was quickly detained by Border Patrol officials and sent back on one of the next flights to the Netherlands [90]. He called Prime Minister Gordon Brown "the biggest coward in Europe" and remarked, "Of course I will come back"[91]. Wilders had visited the United Kingdom in December 2008 without any issues.[92] Lord Pearson did not support Wilders' decision to defy the government.[51] But in response to the ban, both Pearson and Cox accused the government of "appeasing" militant Islam.[88]

The International Herald Tribune stated that the ban was broadly condemned in the British news media.[91] The Dutch Foreign Secretary, Maxime Verhagen, called the decision "highly regrettable" and complained to his British counterpart.[51] Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende complained to Gordon Brown about the "disappointing" decision.[93] The Quilliam Foundation, a British think tank, criticised the ban,[84] as did National Secular Society president Terry Sanderson.[92] The Muslim Labour peer Lord Ahmed expressed support;[84] the Ramadhan Foundation and the Muslim Council of Britain also did so, the council labeling Wilders "an open and relentless preacher of hate".[92][94]

Ban overturned

After being declared persona non grata by Jacqui Smith, then the Home Secretary, in February 2009, Wilders appealed the decision to Britain's Asylum and Immigration Tribunal.[95] In October 2009, the tribunal overturned the ban.[96] Wilders subsequently praised the ruling as "a triumph for freedom of speech" and stated that he plans to visit the United Kingdom in the near future.[6][97]

The ruling was criticized by the British Home Office, which stated that an appeal of the tribunal's ruling is being considered. A spokesman stated: "The Government opposes extremism in all its forms. The decision to refuse Wilders admission was taken on the basis that his presence could have inflamed tensions between our communities and have led to inter-faith violence. We still maintain this view."[6][97]

Visits to the UK

On 16 October 2009, Wilders arrived in the United Kingdom and was quickly forced to move his press conference due to protests by about forty members of the organization Islam4UK. Though the Home Office had asserted that his entry into the country would not be blocked, a spokesman said his "statements and behaviour during a visit will inevitably impact on any future decisions to admit him."[98][99] His visit to the UK met with protest,[100] In a press conference, but Wilders called it "a victory."[101] On his outspoken views on Islam, he said: "I have a problem with the Islamic ideology, the Islamic culture, because I feel that the more Islam that we get in our societies the less freedom that we get." He opened the press conference with a quote he attributed to George Orwell: "if liberty means anything at all it means the right to tell people what they don't want to hear". Lord Pearson, who had invited him, said his arrival was "a celebration of the victory of freedom of speech over those who would prevent it in this country, particularly the Islamists, the violent Jihadists who are on the march across the world and in the UK."[102]

In January 2010, Wilders was invited again to show his anti-Qur'an movie Fitna in the British House of Lords by Lord Pearson and Baroness Cox. Wilders accepted the invitation and was present for a presentation of the movie in the House of Lords on 5 March.[103][104] At the ensuing press conferences, he shocked the British and international press by calling the prophet Muhammad a "barbarian, a mass murderer, and a pedophile" and referring to Islam as a "fascist ideology" which was "violent, dangerous, and retarded."[105] Maxime Verhagen, Dutch caretaker Minister of Foreign Affairs, publicly condemned Wilders's remarks and behaviour: "He incites discord among people in a distasteful manner. And in the meantime he damages the interests of the Dutch population and the reputation of the Netherlands in the world."[106] [107] [108] Bernard Wientjes, the president of the Dutch employers' organization Confederation of Netherlands Industry and Employers (VNO-NCW), also accused Wilders of "seriously" damaging Dutch interests abroad. He called it outrageous that Wilders had presented himself in London as "the next Dutch prime minister" and then derided Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan as "a complete fool". Emphasizing that three quarters of the Dutch GDP comes from revenue earned abroad, according to Wientjes, Wilders poses "a serious threat to the Netherlands and the Dutch economy". [109] [110].

Wilders and Germany

In March 2010, Wilders was told he is “not welcome” in the western German tourist resort of Monschau in the Eifel area, after he spent a weekend there, along with several armed bodyguards. Mayor Margareta Ritter (CDU) said she was concerned that his presence tainted her town with the suspicion that it was sympathetic to his views. As a result, Monschau was said to have been unfairly connected with "extremism" in the European press. “Anyone who pollutes the integration debate in the Netherlands with poisonous right-wing populism as Wilders has, and advocates prohibition of the Koran by a comparison with Hitler's "Mein Kampf", is not welcome in Monschau. I wanted to distinguish Monschau from that.” She was unable to say whether Wilders was merely enjoying a short vacation in her town or had been meeting with like-minded people. [111] [112] [113] [114][115]

Trial

Several groups and persons in The Netherlands have called for legal action against Wilders, while others have defended his free speech.[49] On 15 August 2007, a representative of the Prosecutors' Office in Amsterdam declared that dozens of reports against Wilders had been filed, and that they were all being considered.[116] Attempts to prosecute Wilders under Dutch anti-hate speech laws in June 2008 failed, with the public prosecutor's office stating that Wilders' comments contributed to the debate on Islam in Dutch society and also had been made outside parliament, The office released a statement reading: "That comments are hurtful and offensive for a large number of Muslims does not mean that they are punishable. Freedom of expression fulfils an essential role in public debate in a democratic society. That means that offensive comments can be made in a political debate"[49][117][118].

On 21 January 2009, a three-judge court ordered prosecutors to try him [118][119].

The American Middle East Forum has established a Legal Defence Fund for Wilders's defence.[120][121] The New York Times ran a supportive op-ed arguing that "for a man who calls for a ban on the Koran to act as the champion of free speech is a bit rich".[83]

A survey by Angus Reid Global Monitor has found that public opinion is deeply split on the prosecution, with 50% supporting Wilders and 43% opposed.[117] However, public support for the Party for Freedom greatly increased since Wilders' legal troubles began, with the Party for Freedom virtually tied with the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy to be the third most popular party.[72][122] According to Radio Netherlands, "Dutch politicians themselves seem to be keeping quiet on the issue; they are probably worried that media attention will only serve to make the controversial politician more popular"[67].

On 13 January, when the court in Amsterdam decided not to drop any of the charges against Wilders, a survey by pollster Maurice de Hond revealed how the discussion divided public opinion in the Netherlands. A coalition of Christian democrats (CDA), conservatives (VVD) and the Party for Freedom (PVV) appeared both the "most desired" and the "most feared" government combination to the Dutch public. According to this poll, no three-party coalition would be technically possible - at least four parties would be necessary for a majority in the 150-seat House of Representatives.

Hypothetically, if voters were allowed to name their ideal candidate for premier (which is not possible under Dutch election law), Wilders (12 percent) and European Commissioner Kroes (15 percent) would score highest. Then followed Prime Minister Balkenende and Amsterdam Mayor Cohen (each with 9 percent), GroenLinks leader Halsema and PvdA leader Bos (8 percent each) and D66 leader Pechtold [123].

See also

Notes

  1. ^ "Geert Wilders’ speech in New York on February 23, 2009" Faith Freedom, 26 February 2009
  2. ^ http://www.elsevier.nl/web/10203372/Nieuws/Nederland/PVV-Leger-inzetten-tegen-straatterreur-Gouda.htm "PVV: Leger inzetten tegen straatterreur Gouda"]
  3. ^ "PVV asks for rigorous approach of Moroccan street terrorists"
  4. ^ "Amsterdam Court of Appeal orders the criminal prosecution of the Member of Parliament"www.rechtspraak.nl,21 January 2009
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External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Geert Wilders (born 6 September 1963) is a member of parliament in the Netherlands. He is well-known for his criticism of Islam and the Quran.

Sourced

  • Take a walk down the street and see where this is going. You no longer feel like you are living in your own country. There is a battle going on and we have to defend ourselves. Before you know it there will be more mosques than churches!
  • We must send every Muslim back to Iraq, and then send Dutch bomber planes to kill them in their own country. That's a good Christian value!

See also

External links

Wikipedia
Wikipedia has an article about:

Simple English

[[File:|thumb|Geert Wilders 2007]]


Geert Wilders (born 6 September 1963) is a Dutch politician, born in Venlo. He is a member of the Dutch Parliament. He joined the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy first, and in 2006 created and became the leader for the Party for Freedom.

Politics

He began working as an assistant (helper) for Frits Bolkestein in 1990. In September 2004, he left People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD in Dutch, the language spoken in the Netherlands). After that he made his own party named Groep Wilders. Later he changed the name to Partij voor de Vrijheid (Party for the Freedom or PVV).

Fitna

Fitna is a short movie made by Wilders. It was released on the Internet on March 27 2008. Wilders' goal was to show people what he thinks about Islamization, using this movie.








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