“Fewer Moroccans” Rhetoric by Dutch Far-Right Politician Sparks Outrage
The infamous Dutch right-wing leader of anti-Islam PVV party, Geert Wilders, faced an unprecedented storm of protest on Thursday (March 20) after he told supporters he would make sure there were “fewer Moroccans” in the Netherlands. The day following Wilders’ pledge to his chanting supporters that he would arrange for there to be fewer Moroccans in the country, hundreds filed complaints with the police and, Ruland van Vliet, an MP from his anti-Islam PVV party, left his grouping in parliament – while the latter also stressed in a letter to Wilders that “the PVV is on a slippery slope.” In a copy of the letter that the former MP for the far-right PVV party also sent to the national news agency, ANP, Ruland van Vliet also openly criticized the party by saying that “the time has come that I have to address my conscience about what’s happening with the PVV. Your statement yesterday about the Moroccan community has led me to cancel my membership of the PVV and sit as an independent in parliament.”
The public prosecutor’s office in The Hague announced it had received more than 100 complaints, adding that over 500 people had also reported discrimination through the police website and dozens more who telephoned the police to say they wanted to file a complaint. A new Facebook page called “I’m filing a complaint against Wilders” collected over 48,000 ‘likes’ by early Thursday evening. In reference to Mr Wilders’ controversial remarks attacking the Moroccan community in the Netherlands, the Facebook page said: “Why? Because we’re Dutch like you. We believe in our country and not in sowing hatred.” Netherlands’ largest Moroccan grouping announced it would file a complaint against Wilders after he repeated the controversial statement when local government election results were released on Wednesday night.
Dutch television stations featured Wilders in The Hague asking party faithful whether they wanted “fewer or more Moroccans in your city and in the Netherlands?”, whereby the crowd shouted “Fewer! Fewer!” in reply, with a smiling Wilders answering: “We’re going to organize that.” According to Habib El Kddouri, a co-ordinator at the Grouping of Dutch-Moroccans Foundation (SMN), his organization believes that by targeting a specific group, the controversial Dutch politician has gone too far, referring to a 2011 court case that saw the platinum-haired politician acquitted on hate-speech charges. Back then, the court ruled that Wilders had targeted a religion, which is permitted under Dutch freedom-of-speech laws, rather than a specific ethnic group. Wilders has in the past resorted to a fiery anti-Islam rhetoric, when he compared the Qur’an to Hitler’s Mein Kampf and has called Islam a fascist religion, and also thrown verbal barbs at the “hordes” of eastern European immigrants in the Netherlands.