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See, We Told You: Geert Wilders Xenophobia is Not Limited to Muslims

Still my favorite picture of Geert Wilders

Far-right populist Geert Wilders has made a name for himself through his anti-Muslim and anti-Arab rhetoric, and for this reason he is, to quote Robert Spencer, one of the “heroes” of the anti-Muslim movement.

We have consistently pointed out however that Geert Wilders and his allies are not one stop bigots. Behind the “acceptable” attacks on Muslims is hidden a wider xenophobia against ‘the other.’ A bigotry which if not born out of any consistent ideological character is definitely a reflection of the realization that playing on the fears of the majority may lead to positive results at the ballot box.

Wilders and his party, the PVV are riding a wave of popularity through the launch of an anti-Polish/anti-Eastern European website which has been the cause of much controversy and embarrassment in the Netherlands. After launching the site it was reported that the PVV,

would gain 24 seats in parliament if elections were held today, the number of seats the party currently holds, says pollster Maurice de Hond. Geert Wilders’ populist far-right party is the third largest party in the Netherlands.

Wilders’ PVV site displays,

news clippings with bold headlines blaming foreigners for petty crime, noise nuisance – and taking jobs from the Dutch. “Are immigrants from Central and Eastern countries bothering you? We’d like to hear from you,” it says.

The Dutch government has distanced itself from the website but this hasn’t ebbed the disastrous PR that Wilders move has generated.

Besides criticism from ten European ambassadors and the European Commission, the Dutch public has also expressed concerns about possible repercussions. Poles are calling for a boycott of Dutch products.(emphasis mine)

The issue was taken to the European parliament which just yesterday announced its ‘dismay’ and formal response to Wilders most recent populist move:

EP condemns PVV website, exec puts ball in Netherlands’ court

By Gaspard Sebag in Strasbourg | Wednesday 14 March 2012 (Europolitics.info)

Representatives of the political groups in the European Parliament, on 13 March, unanimously called upon the Netherlands’ Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, to condemn a website launched by his far-right political ally, the PVV party headed by Geert Wilders. Said website, up since early February, urges Dutch citizens to report problems they experience with nationals of Central and Eastern European countries. “Unacceptable,” “a disgrace,” “scandalous” – said MEPs. The European Commission, for its part, announced it would not get involved from a legal point of view and leaves the responsibility of assessing the lawfulness of the website to the Dutch authorities. A joint parliamentary resolution will be put to the vote, on 15 March (see box).

The EPP, which counts among its ranks the junior partner in the Netherlands’ government, the centre-right CDA, was particularly vocal. “We cannot tolerate, from a party that takes part in a coalition government, a call to hatred against nationals from another member state. That is unacceptable,” said EPP leader Joseph Daul (France).

Despite the fact that Rutte is part of the Liberal political family, ALDE Chair Guy Verhofstadt (Belgium) was unequivocal about condemning the “silence” of the Dutch government and the message sent by the website. “My group has nothing but contempt for Mr Wilders’ initiative.” Recalling the need to be even-handed in criticising populist tactics, Verhofstadt lumped together French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Wilders. “I wonder who is the extreme-right wing candidate [in France], is it [Marine] Le Pen or Sarkozy?” he asked.

Reactions from other political group leaders all condemned Rutte’s passivity, whose hands are tied by his need for Wilders’ support, and who thus claims it is not a governmental issue. S&D leader Hannes Swoboda (Austria) called for the website to be closed down. Polish deputy Jacek Kurski (EFD) said Rutte’s lack of reaction is “scandalous”. “The prime minister [of the Netherlands] is not taking up his responsibility,” said Marije Cornelissen (Greens-EFA, Netherlands). “The prime minister ought to have directly condemned this website,” said Peter van Dalen (ECR, Netherlands), adding, however, that the EP holding a debate on this issue is “too much honour” for Wilders.

Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding, who had already condemned the PVV website in February, welcomed the comments made in the plenary chamber. “It is unacceptable that EU citizens become target of xenophobic attitudes because they have exercised their right to move from one state to another,” she said. Reding also called upon on the Dutch authorities to “fully investigate the lawfulness of the website under Dutch law and Union law”.

According to Marie-Christine Vergiat (GUE-NGL, France), this is not enough. “You continue to refer to member states and their tribunals but I thought that the Commission was the guardian of the treaties, that freedom of circulation and non-discrimination were part of the European values,” she said. “I notice that certain values are more important than others and that in economic matters when the free circulation of goods and capital is concerned, competition barriers the Commission is prompter to condemn,” added Vergiat.

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  • Just Stopping By

    @Believing Atheist says, “This will be my last and final comment on LW.” No!!!

    “last and final”? You can’t leave on such a redundant comment!

  • Believing Atheist

    I hope LW publishes this new article exposing Geert Wilders by Radio Netherlands:

    It’s not every day that a member of parliament decides to leave his or her party and go it alone. So Hero Brinkman’s defection from the Freedom Party was bound to make news.

    Yet, this defection is more newsworthy than most. For one thing, it removes the parliamentary majority that the current coalition held in the lower house. The two parties forming the minority coalition, the VVD and CDA, depend on support from the Freedom Party (PVV) in parliament. Together, the three parties had 76 seats. With one now gone, they control just half the lower house.

    Prime Minister Mark Rutte might take solace in the fact that the opposition does not firmly control the rest of the seats either. He already has the tacit support of the two-seat right-wing religious SGP party. Moreover, Brinkman has promised to continue to support “the best government this country has ever had”.
    Still, Brinkman’s defection is a bombshell for the PVV.

    Wilders is the party; the party is Wilders
    Discipline is the PVV’s mantra. Geert Wilders runs an extremely tight ship and with good reason. After all, the PVV was the second right-wing populist party to emerge in 21st-century Dutch politics. The first, List Pim Fortuyn, captured 26 seats at its first parliamentary election, joined a coalition government and then fell apart in an avalanche of petty bickering.

    Wilders, himself a VVD defector, knew he did not want to create something new only to see it disappear in a similar fashion. Everything about the PVV guards against revealing even the slightest hint of chaos. It is not a political party in the traditional sense. With just one member – Wilders himself – the PVV holds no conferences. Wilders delegates only to a handful of trusted colleagues, who are anyway limited in what they can do on their own.

    First chink in the armour
    Brinkman’s defection is the first major chink in this armour of rock-solid discipline. Until now, he has remained loyal even after voicing criticism. Brinkman came out publicly against one-man rule a few years ago, when he called for more democracy within the party. Though rebuffed, he pursued efforts to start a youth movement. Even after that project was reigned in, Brinkman stuck by Wilders.
    Until now, that is. Brinkman is not only the first PVV MP to defect (a number of provincial politicians have left). He comes from the core group that began with Wilders in 2005. He was also one of the most visible MPs.

    Core group
    The damage to Wilders goes beyond a dent in the public image of an extremely disciplined party. Wilders loses a colleague who dared to talk back. PVV MPs say their meetings are free-flowing exchanges of information. But, given Wilders’ autocratic control, it is hard to imagine all MPs feel free to express their opinions. Brinkman claims he was comfortable standing up to Wilders. In the long run, the party leader may end up missing his opinionated feedback.

    Secrets exposed
    Now Brinkman is sharing his opinions with the outside world. Less than 12 hours after announcing his defection, Brinkman indicated that the PVV receives substantial amounts of money from ‘US lobby firms’. This was long suspected, but has yet to be proven. The party is under no legal requirement to divulge its sources of funds.

    Brinkman also accused his former party of political opportunism, stigmatising groups such as Muslims and Eastern Europeans for political gain. The controversial PVV website for registering complaints about Eastern Europeans was not well thought-out, he said, particularly from a group wanting to be seen as a responsible, governing party.

    More criticism to come?
    Brinkman is by no means finished criticising his former party. He has announced that he is writing a book about the PVV.

    Only once before, in its nearly seven years of existence, has the PVV had to deal with an insider revealing its inner workings. Towards the end of 2009, a journalist published a series of diary entries based on her experience working undercover in parliament for the PVV. The damage was primarily personal and psychological – nothing close to what a confidant could reveal in a kiss-and-tell memoir.

    So, besides Brinkman, are there others? For now, he appears to be alone. He was the only PVV MP who openly called for more democracy in the party. All accounts of his last weeks indicate he had little support in the caucus, but claims support from a few of his former colleagues. They just don’t dare to speak out. What effect will his example have on the others?

    A vulnerable time
    Brinkman’s defection comes at a vulnerable time for Wilders. He is involved in intense negotiations about a new round of austerity measures, measures he himself does not want and which will be unpopular with his constituents. He has now lost his strongest bargaining chip – pulling out of the governing construction and taking the country to the polls. With a party weakened by defection, Wilders may now be stuck with whatever he can get at the negotiations.
    http://www.rnw.nl/english/article/first-chink-geert-wilders%E2%80%99-armour

    This will be my last and final comment on LW. Thank you LW for tolerating me and posting many of my comments on your blog. Forgive me for any of my transgressions and I wish you the best of luck in combating bigotry and anti-Muslim sentiment.

  • Pingback: See, We Told You: Geert Wilders Xenophobia is Not Limited to Muslims | Islamophobia Today eNewspaper

  • Benjamin Taghiov

    Muslims face most racism in Sweden

    Muslims are exposed to the most racial harassment in Sweden, according to a new report from the Board of Integration.

    Seven out of ten reports of ethnic discrimination came from people with a Muslim background, and almost 40% of those questioned in the survey said they had witnessed verbal abuse directed at Muslims.

    The report, Racism and Xenophobia in Sweden, also showed an increasing intolerance of immigration.

    “If you look at the whole period from 1999 to 2004 there has been a significant increase in the number of people who want to close Sweden’s borders to immigration, from 35% to 45.5%,” said the report’s author, José Alberto Diaz.

    But the picture painted by the report is complex. While one in five respondents said that they were “negatively inclined towards people who they did not consider belonged in Sweden”, the support for anti-immigration political parties, such as the Sweden Democrats (Sverigedemokraterna) and the National Democrats (Nationaldemokraterna) is declining.

    One in four said they could consider voting for such a party, down from almost one in three in 1999.

    Two thirds of those questioned rejected the notion that Sweden is a racist country, and fewer people then five years ago believe that racism is increasing. In 1999, 56% said they believed racism was rising, but by 2004 this had decreased to 46%.

    http://www.thelocal.se/2363/20051025/

    ______________

    Sweden’s Jews, Muslims face web hate rise: study

    The number of xenophobic web sites have almost doubled since 2007 and Jews and Muslims wearing apparent religious symbols are subjected to significant discrimination in Sweden today, according to a new report from the Living History Forum (Forum för levande historia).

    “Sweden as a whole is a tolerant country but this report shows that racism is growing and is being professionalized on the internet. There is today a small but growing minority that harbour hatred against Muslims and Jews,” minister for integration, Erik Ullenhag, wrote in a statement on Monday.

    The report, which was requested by the government and carried out by the Forum, also shows that an increased number of racist web pages have been created in recent years and that prejudice is being spread through schoolbooks.

    According to the report, the number of racist sites in Sweden has almost doubled in two years. In 2009 there were around 8,000 xenophobic Swedish sites whereas today the authors of the report estimate an increase to 15,000.

    This follows a EU-wide trend where right wing extremist groups are using the internet to spread hate-propaganda.

    According to the report, these are characterized by anti-Semitic and Islamophobic views, where conspiracy theories are the most recurring elements.

    The Jewish group is often cast as world conspirators whereas the Muslim group is seen as physical occupiers, actively are on their way to taking over society through mass-immigration and rising nativity figures.

    The Jewish community in Sweden consists of some 20,000 individuals and the Muslim community of 300,000. Fresh crime statistics show that there were 161 reports of crimes with anti-Semitic motives and 272 with Islamophobic motives last year.

    But according to the Forum it is difficult to get a fair idea of the situation from these statistics as they are based on police reports and the authors believe there may be many more unrecorded cases.

    “Above all this study shows that research and follow-ups into preventative actions regarding intolerance against Jews and Muslims is sorely needed,” said head of Forum for Living History, Eskil Franck, in a statement.

    According to Ullenhag, Swedish authorities must further their knowledge about what causes the hate against these groups to grow in Sweden and how they should meet it. That, he said, is the aim behind the investigation regarding xenophobia that the government launched earlier this spring.

    “We have learnt from experiences in other European countries that all the forces who want a tolerant society need to be active in the public debate. Prejudice against Jews and Muslims can never be normalized,” said Ullenhag.

    When American research centre Pew recently investigated the development of religious conflicts and oppression worldwide between 2006 and 2009, Sweden distinguished itself as a country where hostilities related to religion are increasing the most.

    http://www.thelocal.se/35692/20110822/

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  • dude

    You are fully right but it would be appreciated if things are not being fueled. The situation in Holland is tensed and a lot of foreigners are not safe here anymore…and in this regard you can think of absolutely anything, the range is wide. If things will be fueled, those people will be put in danger because the Dutch lost the control over the situation.

  • http://oskarfreysingerwatch.blogspot.com/ Garry Ladouceur

    Eslaporte

    thank you for your link to the meldpuntpw. I have now started a campaign in my own country to ban yellow hair dye. It helps disguise identity and seems to make people crazy, adopting as they do, aryan type superiority complexes.

    I have begun to see my shrink since I think that I am beginning to suffer from yellowdyeophobia. http://oskarfreysingerwatch.blogspot.com/

  • http://www.yellow-stars.com eslaporte

    @JD
    I live near the mosque of the Islamic Society of Southeastern Wisconsin. It has been their since the 1980s and nobody has trouble with it…

    I knew that the Netherlands would make trouble in the EU eventually. It’s rather sad. The country used to be a champion of human rights in the world. The country used to stand for international justice. Now – its foreign policy is based crafted on “clash” thesis, which will led to conflicts and wars.

    The Dutch were led to believe that “Pim and Theo” were heroes by being loud and obnoxious in the hate of their own country, as well as minorities. The Dutch tradition of tolerance was admired in the world. The country now hate foreigners, all foreigners.

    What is really funny is that foreigners built the Netherlands and the Low Countries.

    The reason why this has not be condemned by other political parties is that in the Dutch political system one party does not condemn the actions of another party. This is to not step on toes so that one’s own party can be included in a future governing coalition or consideration of policy proposals in the Tweede Kamer. This is part of the reason why the Islamization myths go unchallenged.

    Well – there is a Meldpunt PVV – http://meldpuntpvv.nl/

  • Christian-friend

    I see in the future….Greet Wilders blaming the country’s woes on anyone who isn’t blue eye and white, then shaking hands with a Neo-Nazi officer and praising Hitler!

  • Aspie and Atheist

    How about “live and let live.” Guess what, Muslims in the west are not trying to impose their views on anyone, they are just trying to live their lives according to their principles. But Europeans don’t want to see them, they don’t want any visibility of anything other than themselves. Europeans need to get over their superiority complex and face the horrors of their racism and colonial past, and realize that they’re no better than anybody else. Then maybe they could appreciate diversity instead of fearing it.

  • http://www.wmonline.com BuddhaShrink

    Yep! You were right. Bigots rarely are one stop bigots.

  • http://oskarfreysingerwatch.blogspot.com/ Garry Ladouceur

    Of course the south dakota bill is unconstitutional JD and I must agree with you. The law is so patently silly that it will surely not last. I refer of course to Hosanna Tabor that the Supreme Court of the USA decided just last month.

    Courts will enforce provisions of religious codes if these relate to the governance of the religion. For example, the hiring of clergy as clergy will not be determined by fair employment practices.

  • Garibaldi

    I’m not too surprised about South Dakota to say the least.

    Thanks Khusboo, we’ll have to post this.

  • http://oskarfreysingerwatch.blogspot.com/ Garry Ladouceur

    here is an interesting site that shows Geert Wielders:

    first as a long haired creepy brown haired and eyed loon,

    second as a brown eyed regular guy loon

    third to his latest incarnation as a blond blued eyed perfect aryan man loon.

    http://oskarfreysingerwatch.blogspot.com/

  • khushboo

    BREAKING NEWS EMPEROR:

    Did you know that last week history was made in Florida? The anti-Sharia bill that was supposed to become law died in the Florida Senate after passing in the Florida House by a vote of 92 to 24.

    Now the lawmakers who helped kill the bill are under attack by anti-Muslim hate groups. Can you take 30-seconds to thank those Florida Lawmakers who did the right thing?

    I just used the website

    http://stopsb1360.org to send an email to Thank the lawmakers who helped stop this bad law. It was really easy and it TOOK ME LESS THAN 30 SECONDS

    http://action.unitedvoices.com/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=9953

  • mindy1

    @South Dakota?? Really, this is what they focus on??

  • Sam

    Under the bill Daugaard signed, however, courts will be allowed to enforce contracts requiring disputes to be resolved under French law or ancient Roman law or under the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons second edition rules, but they won’t be allowed to enforce contracts requiring disputes to be resolved under the requirements of someone’s religious beliefs

    Hilarious!!!

  • NurAlia

    So…flipping a coin to settle a dispute if the parties agree is illegal now?

  • JD

    South Dakota Governor Signs Unconstitutional Anti-Muslim Bill

    http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2012/03/13/443666/south-dakota-governor-signs-unconstitutional-anti-muslim-bill/?mobile=nc

    Yesterday, South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard (R) signed an unconstitutional law that purports to target courts applying religious law, but which is almost certainly part of a broader push by Islamophobic advocates to fight the imaginary problem of courts substituting Islamic law for American law. The brief bill Daugaard signed provides simply that “[n]o court, administrative agency, or other governmental agency may enforce any provisions of any religious code.”

    Although this bill does not specifically call out any particular religion for ill treatment, it violates the Free Exercise Clause of the Constitution. As the Supreme Court explained in Church of Lukumi Babalu Aye v. Hialeah, “the protections of the Free Exercise Clause pertain if the law at issue discriminates against some or all religious beliefs or regulates or prohibits conduct because it is undertaken for religious reasons.”

    While it is uncommon for American courts to apply religious law, it is not unheard of. Private parties sometimes enter into contracts where they agree to resolve their disputes under something other than U.S. law, and individuals sometimes write wills devising their property according to the tenets of their faith. Under the bill Daugaard signed, however, courts will be allowed to enforce contracts requiring disputes to be resolved under French law or ancient Roman law or under the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons second edition rules, but they won’t be allowed to enforce contracts requiring disputes to be resolved under the requirements of someone’s religious beliefs. This is discrimination “against some or all religious beliefs,” and is therefore unconstitutional.

  • JD

    Opponents of Proposed Mosque Clash with Islamic Society Organizers

    http://brookfield-wi.patch.com/articles/opponents-of-proposed-mosque-clash-with-islamic-society-organizers

    Fears that a mosque would bring religious extremists, and even ties to terrorism, surfaced Tuesday when leaders of the Islamic Society of Milwaukee arrived at an Eagle Forum meeting meant to rally Brookfield residents against the proposal.

    After the president and executive director of the society introduced themselves, the meeting at the Brookfield Library turned to debate, focused first on traffic concerns, but soon moving to attacks on the religion of Islam.

    “My fear is what is being taught there,” said a woman who did not want to give her name.

    “Our God is not your God,” one man said.

    “What is it about your religion that draws so much extremism and hatred?” another asked.

    Islamic Society of Milwaukee President Ahmad Quereshi and Executive Director Othman Atta answered their questions, alongside three members of the Brookfield-Elm Grove Interfaith Network.

    “You are our brothers and sisters of humanity,” Quereshi said. “We are not the people advocating for hatred and violence. We’re here as American citizens.”

    About 40 people showed up for the meeting, which forced the group outside into a standing circle where Janet Spiewak, president of the Eagle Forum of Wisconsin, first addressed them.

    She advised the group to leave religion out of their arguments and focus on the construction of the building and traffic it would bring. Aldermen also have warned opponents to stick to non-religious concerns.

    “We’re not fighting against a religion,” Spiewak said. “Concentrate on the traffic and zoning issues.”

    The Eagle Forum of Wisconsin’s website includes as part of its mission: “We must also be vigilant against external threats from rogue nations and radical Islamists.”

    Spiewak urged those present to voice their concerns to their aldermen.

    “Make yourselves heard,” she said. “You have 14 aldermen and a mayor who want to slip something past.”

    The Islamic Society of Milwaukee already owns the land at 16650 and 16730 W. Pheasant Dr., which is northeast of the intersection of Calhoun Road and North Avenue. But they still have several hurdles to pass before moving forward.

    After a public hearing tentatively scheduled for May 7, the plans will go before the Plan Commission for discussion and possible action on a required conditional use permit. If approved there, it will go to the full Common Council.

  • mindy1

    A hater who hates what a shocker/sarcasm

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/GargamelGold?feature=mhee CriticalDragon1177

    @Emperor

    I hope at least one of his supporters has found out about that website and what he has said earlier and maybe for the first time started to question everything Wilders was telling him. Maybe if he does not share his anti Eastern European views, it will lead him to doubt that he is as wise as he is made out to be. That might lead him to eventually reject Wilder’s bigotted views when it comes to Muslims.

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