Dutch muslims fear consequences of freedom party’s popularity

There is considerable fear among Dutch Muslims in the city of Almere regarding the potential success of the anti-Islamic Freedom Party (PVV) in upcoming national elections. The PVV, led by Geert Wilders, currently has nine of 150 seats in parliament.  It is predicted to win 17 seats next week and become the country’s fourth biggest party in the process. The party topped the March 3 municipal poll in Almere, east of Amsterdam, with 21.6 per cent, and came in second in The Hague.

Muslims in Almere express anxiety about possibility of the party gaining influence after the success of the party in the local elections. “Muslim people in Almere are looking differently at their indigenous Dutch compatriots” since the PVV election success, Shangram Karim, the Dutch Muslim Party leader in the city, told AFP. 

”People are thinking: ‘It is probable that my neighbour, or someone in my street, voted for the PVV and thus against me.”

Despite the party’s initial successes, however, it remains politically isolated.
 Coalition governments unwilling to compromise on some of Wilders’ more controversial proposals (such as a ban on headscarves) have ignored it.