Geert Wilders, leader of the anti-Islam party PVV, has accused left-wing politicians of a witch hunt by trying to implicate him and his ideas in the Norwegian mass shootings of 10 days ago.
In an interview with the Telegraaf, Wilders says the left is out to demonise him by trying to connect him to shootings.
Various politicians and commentators have said that Wilders’ anti-Islam speeches and his constant referrals to the ‘left-wing elite’ have helped create the climate in which Anders Breivik acted.
‘The truth has to be told because Islam-huggers like [Job] Cohen of the Party of the Arabs [Labour party] caused the problems and have repeatedly ignored them,’ Wilders said. ‘I would say to Cohen and the rest of the left in the Netherlands: it is not my words, but your silence about the dangers of Islam which has the negative influences.’
In a statement last week, Wilders condemned the actions of Breivik as those of a psychopath and a lunatic.
Breivik made at least 30 mentions of Wilders and his anti-Islam PVV party in the 1,500-page manifesto he circulated after the bloodbath and said Wilders was a person he really wanted to meet.
Later on Monday, Mark Verheijen, deputy chairman of the right-wing Liberal VVD, launched his own stinging attack on Wilders using the microblogging service Twitter.
‘Oh poor Geert. Who cares about 77 deaths. We almost forgot that HE, of course, is Breivik’s main victim’, Verheijen wrote.
The Telegraaf points out that Verheijen is the first VVD official to attack Wilders so publicly. The VVD and Christian Democrat minority government is propped up by the PVV and criticism of the anti-Islam party is rare.
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