CORRECTED: Dutch anti-Islam MP says beheading threat 'very serious'
Dutch anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders, the country's most heavily guarded politician, has denounced an Australian Muslim cleric's reported call for his beheading for denigrating Islam.
"This is really terrible news and a very serious threat, unfortunately," the firebrand politician told AFP by e-mail on Friday in response to the threat reported in the popular daily De Telegraaf newspaper.
Wilders, who campaigns for an end to Muslim immigration and a ban on the building of new mosques and the Koran in a bid to end the "Islamisation" of the Netherlands, has been under 24-hour protection since 2004.
According to De Telegraaf, Muslim cleric Feiz Muhammad called on extremists in an Internet chatroom to "chop off his head" and accused Wilders of "denigrating" Islam.
The newspaper claims to have a sound recording of the appeal by Muhammad, who it said had links with terrorists and was influential for western Muslims.
Wilders appeared on Australian television on Saturday during which he defended his views.
"Our culture which is based on Christianity, Judaism and Humanism, is better than the retarded Islamic culture and this is tough to say, but it is true," Wilders told SBS Broadcasting's Dateline programme.
SBS said that it had received an enormous response to the story but it was unaware of whether Muhammad had commented on it.
Sydney-born Muhammad gained notoriety in 2005 for a speech in which he said a rape victim has "no-one to blame but herself." He has reportedly urged young Muslims to kill non-believers.
Wilders said he would seek "clarification from the Dutch Minister of Interior/ Justice why the secret service and anti-terrorism unit NCTB have not informed me" of the reported threat, and "what the consequences will be for me".
"The information that has come to the fore will be included in the threat analysis for Mr Wilders," said NCTB spokeswoman Judith Sluiter, who added: "We had contact with Mr Wilders last night. We have permanent contact."
Dutch authorities would not confirm the threat or elaborate on possible steps to be taken.
Barred from entering Britain last year to stop him spreading "hatred", Wilders is known abroad for his 17-minute anti-Islam commentary, "Fitna", which was termed "offensively anti-Islamic" by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
His Party for Freedom came third in June 9 national elections, nearly tripling its number of parliamentary seats to 24.
Wilders is set to go on trial in the Netherlands in October on charges of inciting racial hatred against Muslims.
© 2010 AFP