Geert Wilders’ Hate: Not Just for Muslims Anymore
Far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders is notorious for his hatred of Islam.
He has compared the Qur’an to Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kamf, referred to the Prophet Muhammad as “the devil,” and warned of a “tsunami of Islamization” in Europe. His Party for Freedom (PVV) rose to third-place status by capitalizing on economic crisis and social anxiety by scapegoating Muslim immigrants, who he has likened to Nazis.
The shock value has worn off, and support for his political party is waning.
So what’s a hatemonger to do?
Wilders has declared a new enemy: Central and Eastern Europeans. His far-right Freedom Party has captured headlines by launching a website where visitors can lodge complaints about fellow Europeans working in the Netherlands:
Reporting Central and Eastern Europeans
Since May 1, 2007 there is free movement of workers between the Netherlands and eight countries in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) countries. At present the estimates to the number of people from these countries, which resides in the Netherlands, apart from 200,000 to 350,000 people. As one of the few parties, the Freedom Party from the beginning against the opening of the labor market to Poland and other CEE nationals. Given all the problems associated with the massive arrival of especially Poland, is that attitude materialized. Recently, the PVV whatsoever against further opening of the labor market for Romanians and Bulgarians voted.
This massive labor migration leads to many problems, nuisance, pollution, displacement and integration in the labor and housing problems. For many people, these things a serious problem. Complaints are often not reported, because the idea that nothing is done.
Do you have trouble of CEE nationals? Or have you lost your job on a Pole, Bulgarian, Romanian or other Central or Eastern European? We would like to hear. The Freedom Party has a platform on this website to your symptoms to report. These complaints, we will identify and offer the results to the Minister of Social Affairs and Employment.
What’s this got to do with Muslims?
The move clearly demonstrates what we’ve always known. Wilders is an opportunist and a hardcore bigot.
In the current climate, Islamophobia has been normalized to some degree, but the more hatemongers expose their ties to racism, xenophobia, and antisemitism, the more likely they are to be relegated to the fringe by mainstream society.
Wilders’ antics have already sparked a firestorm of protest, and ambassadors from ten central and east European countries have complained. In response, the European Parliament has scheduled a debate on the topic next month.
Wilders boasted the site already had 40,000 responses and dismissed the controversy telling reporters:
My reaction to the ambassadors is: Mind your own business. This has nothing to do with your country. We are a sovereign country, we are a democratic political party and we voice the concerns of many Dutchmen.
Opening a new front will undoubtedly dilute Wilders’ campaign to vilify Islam as a “unique threat” to Europe, and may further tarnish the country’s international reputation. Whether the stunt will ultimately boost his popularity or exhaust Dutch tolerance for his peculiar brand far-right fear mongering remains to be seen.