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Xenophobic Rhetoric

Xenophobic Rhetoric Leader of the Freedom Party Gert Wilders.

Leader of the right-wing Freedom Party was most prominent with xenophobic statements. “Warn your neighbours, your colleagues, your friends for the danger of Islamization, a danger to your country, your liberty, your partner, your children,” Geert Wilders said in Dresden on 13 April, 2015.

In an interview to the Fox News, Geert Wilders repeated some of his typical anti-Muslim statements : “I'm certainly not anti-Muslim, but indeed I believe Islam is a threat to our civilization.” He further added that the Netherlands “is based on values that are based on Christianity and Judaism, and that Islam pose really a threat to our freedom.” In responding to a question about Muhhamad, he said: “Muhammad, as a matter of fact, was a terrorist. He was a warmonger. He beheaded Jewish tribes ... I believe that if Muhammad would be alive today, he would be tried and convicted of terrorism.”

In October 2015, the Netherlands witnessed a new wave of violence after Geert Wilders called on supporters to ‘resist’ the setting up of refugee centres. Far right groups mobs organized several violent protests to “disrupt” meetings organized to discuss the location of temporary refugee centers. Halbe Zijlstra, who leads the VVD parliamentary party, received a letter with a bullet and two cars belonging to a local Groen Links representatives were set on fire. In reaction to these incidents, the leaders of all the main Dutch political parties, including Wilders, have issued a joint appeal for an end to threats and intimidation in the debate over refugees.

It is possible to note the racist statements of the representatives of the police of The Hague. Commissioner Paul van Mouscher said on television that the Dutch of Moroccan origin are “culturally wild at heart”. “These notorious residents of the streets are more than just rude,” he said, adding that their craving for crime was “at the genetic level”.

Asylum and migration have been hotly debated during the 2017 electoral campaign. Discussions have covered topics such as security, integration, tolerance and (national) identity. The discourse of the political parties was noticeably charged: appeals to morals and values as well as in- and out-group rhetoric were heavily used throughout their campaigns. Public discourse before and after the elections made it clear that the influx of migrants and asylum seekers is perceived by many as one of the main challenges for the Netherlands at the moment. The Dutch SGP (a radical Christian party) published a manifesto, which argued that “the love offer of Jesus Christ and Muhammad’s use of violence are as different as day and night.”[1] Some intellectuals, discussed whether the number of Muslims could be reduced by deportation. Prominent Law Professor Paul Cliteur was present during the debate and discussed how this could be made possible legally.[2]

Although right-wing nationalist Geert Wilders—party leader of the Party for Freedom in the Netherlands—did not receive the most votes in the 2017 parliamentary elections, it is questionable whether this result really marks a retreat of nationalist and xenophobic politics. In the months leading up the elections in March of 2017, polls had indicated a potential victory of Wilders’ party with a margin as big as 8 percent to its nearest rivals in January of the same year. However, the traditional centrist parties have slowly adopted Wilders’ position on Islam, Muslim-Dutchmen, immigration, refugees, and the EU. Mark Rutte, who leads the VVD party, which won the largest number of seats in the election, talked of “something wrong with our country” and claimed “the silent majority” would no longer tolerate immigrants who come and “abuse our freedom”. He publicly complained about those who refuse to accept Dutch values and said immigrants should “act normal, or go away.”[3]

A new trend in Dutch politics is represented by a white supremacist and alt right leader Thierry Baudet.[4] His Forum for Democracy (Forum Voor Democratie in Dutch) which endorse a nationalistic, anti-EU, direct democracy platform won the two sits in 2017 elections . Baudet has openly talked about the “homeopathic thinning” of the Dutch population with “other peoples”, he’s claimed that women enjoy being sexually assaulted.

Like in previous years, anti-Semitic statements increase in aftermath of Gaza conflicts. Arnoud van Doorn, council member for the Party of the Unity (PvdE) in the Hague city council wrote on May 14 on Twitter "May Allah destroy the Zionists", in combination with two violent emoticons.[5]

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