Saturday 28 May 2022

Wilders under fire over Moroccan chanting, 40,000 like Facebook page

By Thursday afternoon, over 43,000 people had liked a Facebook page set up to encourage formal police complaints against Geert Wilders for disseminating hatred against Dutch Moroccans.

The Facebook page ‘Ik doe aangifte tegen Wilders‘ was set up in the wake of comments made by the anti-immigration party leader during Wednesday night’s local elections.

During the PVV celebrations in The Hague, Wilder asked his supporters ‘and do you want more or fewer Moroccans in your city and in the Netherlands?’ To which the crowd chanted ‘fewer, fewer, fewer’.

‘We’ll arrange that,’ Wilders said when the chanting died down.

Criticism

Party leaders from across the political spectrum have condemned Wilders for spreading racial hatred. Halbe Zijlstra, leader of the parliamentary Liberal party VVD, said the comments were ‘sick-making’ and it would be up to the courts to decide if Wilders has gone too far.

Broadcaster RTL news took the unprecedented step of publishing an editorial, saying Wilders should be deeply ashamed and accusing him of being well aware he would attract comments about Hitler and the Jewish deportations.

Several dozen people have already made formal complaints to the public prosecution department. A spokesman told the Volkskrant the complaints were coming in from all over the country and it was not possible to estimate how many had been made.

Wilders himself told reporters he did not understand the commotion. ‘I’ve said nothing wrong. I’m not going to apologise. We’ve been saying this for years,’ Wilders said.

Courts

Wilders has stated several times in recent days there should be fewer Moroccans in the Netherlands. Many commentators noted this is the first time he has referred to a nationality, rather than ‘Muslims’ or ‘Moroccan criminals’.

‘Wilders has crossed his own boundary,’ the Volkskrant said in an analysis. ‘Until now, Wilders has always managed to balance on the dividing line between what is and is not discrimination in the eyes of the law.’

In 2011, Wilders was found not guilty of charges of inciting hatred and discrimination against Muslims and non-westerm immigrants by judges in Amsterdam.

The court ruled that some of Wilders’ statements were insulting, shocking and on the edge of legal acceptibility, but that they were made in the broad context of a political and social debate on the multi-cultural society.

Editorial: Are we now allowed to call Wilders a racist?

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