Dutch populist Wilders sued over 'fewer Moroccans' vow

Dutch PVV (anti-muslim populist party) leader Geert Wilders casts his ballot for the Dutch municipal council elections at a polling station in The Hague on March 19, 2014. The largest Moroccan grouping in the Netherlands said on Thursday, March
Dutch PVV (anti-muslim populist party) leader Geert Wilders casts his ballot for the Dutch municipal council elections at a polling station in The Hague on March 19, 2014. The largest Moroccan grouping in the Netherlands said on Thursday, March 20, 2014, it will file a complaint against outspoken far-right politician Geert Wilders after he told supporters he would ensure there were "fewer Moroccans" in the country. -- PHOTO: AFP

THE HAGUE (AFP) - The largest Moroccan grouping in the Netherlands said on Thursday it will file a complaint against outspoken far-right politician Geert Wilders after he told supporters he would ensure there were "fewer Moroccans" in the country.

"Today we are meeting police where we'll file a discrimination-based complaint against Wilders," Habib el Kaddouri, a coordinator at the Grouping of Dutch-Moroccans Foundation (SMN), said.

Television pictures late on Wednesday showed the anti-Islam Wilders in The Hague asking supporters after local government elections whether they wanted "fewer or more Moroccans in your city and in the Netherlands?".

"Fewer! Fewer!" the crowd shouted, with a smiling Wilders answering: "We're going to organise that." "We believe by targeting a specific group, Wilders this time has gone too far," El Kaddouri said, referring to a 2011 court case that saw the platinum-haired politician acquitted on hate-speech charges.

The court ruled that Wilders had targeted a religion, which is permitted under Dutch freedom-of-speech laws, rather than a specific ethnic group.

Wilders, who is often reviled in Dutch immigrant communities for his fiery anti-Islam rhetoric, has in the past compared the Koran to Hitler's Mein Kampf and has called Islam a fascist religion.

In the run-up to Wednesday's local elections he canvassed on an anti-Moroccan ticket, last week saying a city like The Hague could do "with fewer Moroccans".

Wilders told supporters on Wednesday he was allowed to ask the question because it fell under freedom of speech "and we have said nothing we're not allowed to".

"Statements like these however make us feel very insecure," El Kaddouri said.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte also criticised Wilders, saying his comments "left a bad taste in the mouth".

"He again has gone too far," he told local news agency ANP.

Wilders' Party for Freedom (PVV) candidates stood in two cities on Wednesday, seeking a morale boost ahead of May's European Parliament elections.

The PVV won in Almere, east of Amsterdam and ended in second place in The Hague.

Register here to get free digital access to The Straits Times until Aug 9, 2015.
Comments