Geert Wilders’ PVV party is an ‘extreme right-wing’ grouping and a threat to social cohesion and democracy, according to a report leaked by Volkskrant. The report, which has yet to be finalized, was created by three academics for the home affairs ministry and looks at polarization and radicalism in the Netherlands.
Ministers and the researchers are still discussing the final changes. Volksrkant notes that as it now stands, the report describes the PVV as an “extreme right-wing party which is mobilizing anti-Islam sentiment and hatred of governmental system”.
Media coverage around the leak has tracked responses to the report throughout the week. Wilders responded furiously to the report, calling Integration minister Eberhard van der Laan and D66 leader Alexander Pechtold, who had publicly responded to the report, “accomplices” of Mohammad B., Theo van Gogh’s murderer.
Meanwhile, a poll conducted in the aftermath of the report found 50 percent of the Dutch think the PVV is on the extreme right of the political spectrum and 66 percent think Wilders is stimulating a fear of Islam. A further 46 percent think Wilders is encouraging a hatred of the government.
A protest demonstration against party leader Geert Wilders was held Monday evening in the city of Arnhem. 200 protestors marched peacefully while the PVV met behind closed doors.
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”.
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.