Wilders refuses apology to Saudi Arabia

19th February 2007, Comments 0 comments

19 February 2007, AMSTERDAM – Faction leader for the Freedom Party Geert Wilders is not considering making any apology to Saudi Arabia for his recent comments on the Koran. He said this on Sunday in response to a report in the Saudi newspaper Al-Watan, which wrote that the Islamic country has complained to the Dutch government about the comments.

19 February 2007

AMSTERDAM – Faction leader for the Freedom Party Geert Wilders is not considering making any apology to Saudi Arabia for his recent comments on the Koran. He said this on Sunday in response to a report in the Saudi newspaper Al-Watan, which wrote that the Islamic country has complained to the Dutch government about the comments.

A spokesperson for the ministry of foreign affairs in The Hague said on Sunday that the Saudi ambassador had in fact done so “informally.” There has not been any official complaint however, he said.

The newspaper claims that the Saudi embassy in The Hague demanded that Wilders recant his comments and apologise to Muslims. The MP said he would not even consider it.

“Are they completely mad? It is scandalous that a country that does not recognise freedom of speech is telling me what to do. They had better learn that as an MP here you are allowed to say what you want.”

Wilders said earlier this week in an interview with newspaper De Pers that Muslims should tear out and discard half the Koran if they want to live in the Netherlands. Wilders also said that the Koran contains “plenty of terrible things.”

Wilders plans to send Foreign Minister Ben Bot a letter requesting that he set the Saudi ambassador straight and give him a lesson in parliamentary democracy. Bot said on Friday that he lamented Wilders’ comments about Islam and the prophet Mohammed. The comments were reported in Moroccan and Pakistani media and the minister does not think this will be beneficial to the Netherlands’ reputation abroad.

Wilders, who stressed that Bot was welcome to his own opinion, will also ask him for an explanation of this response and call on him to defend freedom of speech.

[Copyright Expatica + ANP 2007]

Subject: Dutch news

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