Euroskeptic Dutchman Rises to Power on No-Mosque Pledge While Germany Cracks Down on ‘Islamist Scene’

Geert Wilders takes center stage while Marine Le Pen says time is right for Dutch to decide their future ‘as the Brits did’ — and Berlin sounds alarm on Islamist threat.

AP/Peter Dejong, file
Dutch politician Geert Wilders at The Hague, Netherlands, in 2008. AP/Peter Dejong, file

No sooner had Dutch politician Geert Wilders’ Party of Freedom clinched on Wednesday a stunning win in elections in Holland than the predictable vilification began: headlines from Washington to Warsaw branded Mr. Wilders “populist” or “extreme right” and naturally, “anti-Islam.” True, Mr. Wilders has criticized Islam as a “violent religion” and described the burqa as “a medieval token of a barbaric time” — but recent world events have clouded those concerns.

The hotly anticipated parliamentary election awarded Mr. Wilders’ party, the PVV, as many as 37 seats out of 150 seats. The victory is tantalizing for Europeans who crave a return to respect for national identities over coerced salutes for a supra-European state. In concert with the rise of the Alternative for Germany party, the mainstreaming of Marine Le Pen’s National Rally in France, and the success of Giorgia Meloni and the Brothers of Italy, the pivot away from unchecked neo-liberalism is clear.

That the possibility of Mr Wilders becoming Holland’s next premier could prove elusive is, for now, an afterthought. As this is happening, Holland’s big European bruder to the east, Germany, is proving that a pan-European failure to address toxic strains of Islamism — most recently seen in the attacks by Hamas against Israel — is starting to fray the fabric of European union (lower case “u” intended). 

Many would argue that those threads, if not wholly defective, were tangled from the start. How else to account for the uproar at Brussels, a supposedly cosmopolitan city riddled with mostly Muslim ghettos like Molenbeek and prone to Islamist violence, over the popular appeal of a leader like Mr. Wilders? 

Europe’s failure to confront what amounts to a fifth column in its midst is starting to catch up with it. For the complacent powers-that-be in capitals like Brussels and the reflexively pro-EU scribes who churn out a drumbeat of platitudes about the putative virtues of  diversity,  that is deeply unsettling. The war in the Middle East, which the 60-year-old Mr. Wilders described on X as a “war between freedom and barbarity,” has made this abundantly clear. 

That is why Germany’s Interior Minister, Nancy Faeser, said on Thursday that Germany was “keeping a close eye on the Islamist scene,” adding that “Islamists and antisemites cannot and must not feel safe anywhere here.” Germany is making good on a ban earlier this month that outlawed any activity by or in support of Hamas.

It also dissolved a group called Samidoun that organized a celebration, at Berlin, of Hamas’ murderous October 7 attacks in Israel. On Thursday hundreds of German police raided properties of Hamas supporters in Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, Schleswig-Holstein, as well as Berlin. 

That is welcome if overdue police work for a country where the domestic intelligence service estimates that Hamas has around 450 members in the country. How many Hamas supporters might there be in France, which has Europe’s largest Muslim population, in Sweden, or the Netherlands, whose Muslim population exceeds one million?

Questions like that one and what place, if any, the construction of new mosques in an EU country has — and that to date have mostly been shunned out of deference to political correctness — are now being heard more loudly, from Stockholm to Berlin to, now, Amsterdam. 

Part of the PVV’s platform addresses education, and sticks up for gay rights in a country famous for its tolerance: “There is no place for education that is at odds with the most important principles on which our society is based: freedom, equality of men and women, heterosexual or LGBTI, religious or religious. This means that we do not give Islamic education a place in our system and therefore ban it.”

Should such a ban take effect, Mr. Wilders has pledged to work within the limits of the Dutch constitution, which dates to 1814. Yet “the winds of change are here,” as Hungary’s premier, Viktor Orban, said on X, hailing Mr. Wilders’ win in the Dutch election. 

Not only the wind: When Marine Le Pen, who polls indicate is a more popular figure than rudderless President Macron, says that it is now high time for the Dutch to decide their future “as the British people did,” it suggests a strengthening of the centrifugal forces blowing back against the Eurocracy.

Ms. Le Pen, hailing Mr. Wilders’ win, also said that “it’s a good piece of news when people can express themselves” but “the bad news is when, as in 2005, a treaty is imposed on them.”

She was referring to a 2005 referendum on an EU constitution that Dutch voters overwhelmingly rejected. The constitution was later imposed by European governments via treaty.

Expect the Party of Freedom to follow in the solidly conservative footsteps of Ms. Le Pen’s resurgent National Rally and Mr. Orban’s Fidesz, or Hungarian Civic Alliance party. Which this week, incidentally, unveiled billboards depicting the European Commission president, Ursula Von der Leyen, alongside Alex Soros, son of the radical-left Hungarian-born financier George Soros. The text reads, “Let’s not dance to their tunes.”

The New York Sun

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