Opposition wants Dutch PM to speak on Wilders

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Opposition parties D66, Green Left and Christian Union want Prime Minister Mark Rutte to respond to the role that Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders has been playing in the Islam debate.

Alexander Pechtold, leader of the democrat party D66, made his appeal to the prime minister in an interview with national newspaper de Volkskrant published on Tuesday. The Green Left party and the Christian Union have joined his appeal.

Mr Wilders’ anti-Islamic ideology came under increased scrutiny after the Norway attacks in which 77 people were killed. Critics accuse Mr Wilders of being one of a number of people who helped create a political climate which enabled individuals like Anders Breivik to take action. The Freedom Party leader in turn accuses the left-wing political parties of playing “a dirty political game” in an attempt to capitalise on the Norway attacks. He says he is the victim of a witch hunt against him.

“Where is the prime minister in all of this”, Mr Pechtold wonders in the interview. “Rutte cannot keep on saying: it’s only the Freedom Party, it’s nothing to do with me. I’m slowly beginning to wonder who is supporting who.” The Freedom Party provides parliamentary support to the minority cabinet The D66 leader was referring to Mr Wilders’ use of phrases like 'Islamic voting cattle' and 'palaces of hate' when he is talking about mosques.

Several politicians and commentators have pointed out that Anders Behring Breivik repeatedly mentions Mr Wilders in some of his writings. They also note that both men use a similar rhetoric when calling for a war against Islam, which they present as a threat to Europe.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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