Dutch anti-Islam party makes surprising inroads in parliamentary elections

interns Contributor
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Meet the Freedom Party of the Netherlands and its leader, filmmaker Geert Wilders. The party won a major victory in last night’s Dutch elections, gaining fourteen seats in parliament. That means Wilders, who is scheduled to go on trial in October for inciting discrimination and hatred with his films, now heads the third largest party in the Dutch legislature.

The Freedom Party is best known for its anti-Islam positions which, as outlined by the BBC, include banning the Koran and taxing women’s headscarves. Dutch Muslims, as might be expected, hardly see this as good news:

“We are all concerned now. It’s like we are not welcome any more,” said Ibraham Spalburg, the head of SPIOR, an umbrella organization of Muslim groups around the Dutch city of Rotterdam.

Once famously tolerant, Dutch “society has changed a lot in a very dramatic way,” Spalburg said. “It’s like Islamophobia. It’s not nice any more.”