Dutch PM: Norway debate was unpleasant and untimely

13th August 2011, Comments 1 comment

Prime Minister Mark Rutte says the debate sparked by the Norway attacks was “extremely unpleasant and untimely. The Norwegians were still involved in grieving and funerals and we were already debating whether the bullet came from the left or from the right.”

Mr Rutte made his remarks after Friday’s cabinet meeting. After the attacks, in which 77 people were killed in two separate incidents in the capital Oslo and the island of Utøya, Labour and the Green Left party on one side and Geert Wilders’ Freedom PVV party on the other attacked each other over the anti-Islam policies of the PVV. The prime minister said he had been annoyed by the debate: “I felt the reactions from both sides were untimely and inappropriate.”

According to Mr Rutte, the debate was “going in a direction as if the PVV and Geert Wilders were partly responsible for the attacks. That really makes no sense whatsoever.". He said that anybody who did idiotic things was responsible for their own actions. “Geert Wilders had nothing to do with these attacks. They were the actions of a complete idiot.”

However, the prime minister did criticise statements Mr Wilders recently made in the Islam debate. The PVV leader called characterised mosques as ‘palaces of hate’. Mr Rutte said this was unacceptable. He called it “a terrible statement” and a “highly inappropriate phrase.”

The prime minister said he backed Labour leader Job Cohen’s appeal for a respectful debate. However, he emphasised he did not support any limitations on the freedom of speech, and would not call on anyone not to say something. “Different people express themselves differently” he said. Mr Rutte said it was a matter of “Personal taste and personal ideas on what is acceptable.”

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

1 Comment To This Article

  • anonymous posted:

    on 13th August 2011, 09:46:37 - Reply

    I want to react to the remark "palaces of hate" ( mosques ) It saddens me that government officials whether Dutch, British, or American, do not yet realize that discription of Islamic mosques is suitable. Surveys have recently shown that 80 % of mosques in the USA teach radical Islamic ideas that are anti-infidel , or against non-Muslims. The Koran is their guide, and that doctrine is full of hostility towards all non-believers. How clear can it be that mosques are NOT just innocent houses of worship ? Geert Wilders is still ahead of them. The Dutch should be glad at least one of their members of parliament has it right .