Dutch Politician Leads Campaign Against ‘Islamization’
This article is from the archive of The New York Sun before the launch of its new website in 2022. The Sun has neither altered nor updated such articles but will seek to correct any errors, mis-categorizations or other problems introduced during transfer.
THE HAGUE, Netherlands — An anti-immigrant politician is making a meteoric rise with his call on the Dutch — once among the most tolerant people in the world — to stop Islam from taking over Europe.
The 43-year-old leader of the Freedom Party, Geert Wilders, is convinced that governments are being forced to accommodate a “tsunami of Islamization” that is fundamentally incompatible with European social values.
“Islam itself is the problem. Islam is a violent religion,” he told the Daily Telegraph. “The Prophet Muhammad was a violent man. The Koran is mostly a violent book. We should invest in Muslim people, but they have to first get rid of half the Koran and half of their beliefs,” he said.
In opinion polls, the Freedom Party has jumped to 10% from 6% since November.
His passionate campaign for a ban on the Islamic veil, or burqa, in public places is gaining such momentum that the country’s new coalition government could be forced to introduce the ban, which it does not support.
On the burqa, Mr. Wilders is adamant: “It is a medieval token of a barbaric time, of how not to treat women, even if they want to wear it themselves,” he argues.
The new government coalition of mainstream center right and left political parties had planned to ditch a decision by the previous government to ban the burqa in the Netherlands, which now has a population of 1 million Muslims, 6% of the total population.
But, Mr. Wilders points out, opinion polls conducted over the weekend show 66% of Dutch citizens support a ban.