Anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders has been warned he faces arrest if he goes ahead with a planned visit to the Brussels district of Molenbeek on Friday.
The PVV leader is due to join his Belgian counterpart Filip Dewinter, of the Vlaams Belang party, for a so-called ‘Islam safari’ through areas of the city with a high Muslim population. Some of the terrorists who carried out attacks in Madrid in 2004 and Paris two years ago came from Molenbeek.
Wilders and Dewinter had originally planned a walkabout, but later said they would tour the district by car to avoid the visit being seen as a provocation.
On Thursday the mayor of Sint-Jans-Molenbeek issued a municipal order banning Wilders and Dewinter from the area on Friday. ‘Any gathering of people in connection with this event, whether by participants, organisers or opponents, is forbidden on the territory of the municipality of Sint-Jans-Molenbeek,’ the statement read.
Mayor Françoise Schepmans said police would be on hand and take action if necessary to enforce the order.
Wilders reacted with a Tweet condemning the decision as ‘cowardly’. ‘Molenbeek has been officially declared Islamic territory,’ he declared.