Impact of Anti-Islam Party Felt in New Dutch Government

October 15 2010

As the new Dutch government is installed this week, considerable attention focuses on its policies towards Islam and immigration. The minority government coalition, consisting of the Liberal (VVD) and Christian Democrat (CDA) parties, is supported by Geert Wilders’ Freedom (PVV) party, which places Islam at the top of its agenda. New prime minister Mark Rutte denies a focus on Islam in the government, but the policy for the coalition has already been agreed upon, and Wilders’ influence is evident in the coalition’s plans to tighten immigration controls. Meanwhile, new defence minister Hans Hillen notes that Dutch diplomats will have to work harder to explain the country’s good intentions in Muslim countries, stating that “It will be our task to present an image…. that this cabinet isn’t biased or prejudiced in any way against Islam.”