Wilders Proposes “Headscarf Tax”

Controversial Dutch politician Geert Wilders told parliament on Wednesday that Muslim women should pay to wear a headscarf. He suggested that any Muslim woman who wants to wear a headscarf should have to apply for a license and pay 1 000 euros for the privilege, Radio Netherlands and DPA report. Wilders says the money raised would go toward women’s emancipation programmes. He added the fine was meant to “demotivate” people from wearing Muslim attire. Wilders, leader of the liberal-right Freedom Party PVV, made his remarks during a parliamentary debate about the government’s budget plans.

DutchNews and Euranet covered the angry responses of other politicians to the proposal, reporting that Liberal Democrat leader Alexander Pechtold “asked himself if Wilders was serious”. The politician called Wilders’ proposal xenophobic and racist. GroenLinks leader Femke Halsema said the speech was “vulgar” and Minister of Housing, Communities and Integration Eberhard van der Laan called it “hysterical”.

Dutch anti-Muslim film brings call for PR

Feared fallout from a new film critical of Islam has one Dutch lawmaker calling for a pre-emptive public-relations campaign by all of Europe. Alexander Pechtold, a member of the Netherlands parliament, said Monday that Europe must publicly explain the values of freedom of expression and democracy in order to prevent a backlash to the film produced by right-wing lawmaker Geert Wilders. Here we are accustomed to democracy and freedom of expression but not everyone abroad is, Pechtold told Radio Netherlands.