Machiel de Graaf, a parliament member for the Party for Freedom (PVV) led by Islam critic Geert Wilders, has called for the closure of all mosques in the
Netherlands. During a debate on the Dutch national finances De Graaf said that he wanted to make very clear that he believes the Netherlands should be de-islamized. Subsequently he called for the closure of Islamic houses of prayer. The call was severely criticized by the Minister of Social Affairs Lodewijk Asscher as being unconstitutional and reprehensible. The member of parliament has defended his call by arguing that Islam is “not a religion but a political ideology” and as such he did not believe it goes against the freedom of religion.
Political journalist Tom-Jan Meeuws observed that during the debate De Graaf ascribed almost every current problem in Dutch politics in some way or another to Islam. He also alluded to De Graaf’s call as a sign of a new roughness in the discours on Islam in the Party for Freedom, a party traditionally known for it’s critique of Islam. While in the last election program the PVV stated it wanted to stop the building of new mosques and a ban on minarets it now seems to initiate a campaign with graver implications for Dutch Islam.