7 September 2011
A planned parliamentary debate in the Netherlands will be boycotted by the country’s anti-Islam party PVV, headed by Geert Wilders. Member of Parliament Tofik Dibi has announced plans to call for such a debate in the wake of the Norwegian killings, but has not yet done so. While other parties support the debate they prefer that the discussion occur in distinction from the events in Norway. The PVV “sees no merit in any debate and will not attend”, according to party MP Joram van Klaveren.
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.”
1 October 2010
If discussions on the cultural pages of German newspapers in spring 2010 were representative of German opinion, then we must assume that around half the German population comprehend Islam as a threat. Does the negative attitude towards Islam testify to vigilance or to prejudice?
No matter how coarse and emotional these debates may have been, a glance across Germany’s frontiers shows that things could have been much worse. In Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, and Switzerland the anti-Islamic mood is not only to be felt in newspaper feature supplements, blogs and talk shows; it also influences party politics, election results, and special legislation on Islam. In Germany the political fallout of this debate is astonishingly limited. Udo Ulfkotte’s attempt to establish an anti-Islam Party failed.
Within political elites there exists a consensus that less emphasis should be put on Islam, which should rather be left to conferences and committees of specialists and representatives of particular interests. They realise that there is nothing to be gained by taking action over Islam. One of the reasons is that the conflict over Islam permeates all the political parties. At public discussions in Munich, Cologne, Berlin, and Brussels in recent weeks, opponents of Islam among the audience frequently mentioned their adherence to the established parties so as to not to be seen to be on the wrong side, i.e. the extreme rightist camp.
Two Dutch people have set up a Facebook group apologizing to the rest of the world for the success of the anti-Islam Freedom Party (PVV) in the Netherland’s federal elections on June 10 2010, Radio Netherlands Worldwide reports. Leonie and Michiel Heinicke set up the site after the PVV, led by Geert Wilders, received 1.5 million votes in the elections. The Facebook group has attracted considerable attention with over 30,000 friends joining the site in just 48 hours.