Dutch Politician Cancels Muhammad Cartoon Contest After Threats, Protests
A Dutch politician who planned on holding a “draw Muhammad” cartoon contest has called the competition off after riots in Pakistan and threats from Taliban leaders in Afghanistan.
Geert Wilders, the Dutch politician who organized the contest, stated that his decision to call off the competition comes after numerous death threats, according to Al Jazeera. One 26-year-old man was arrested earlier this week in The Hague after he reportedly made threats against Wilders’ life.
“To avoid the risk of victims of Islamic violence, I have decided not to let the cartoon contest go ahead,” Wilders said via a written statement on Thursday night, according to The Guardian.
According to Al Jazeera close to 10,000 protestors took to the streets in Pakistan to protest the upcoming contest and demand that Islamabad sever diplomatic ties with The Netherlands.
“We will die to protect the honor of the Prophet,” the Pakistani protestors chanted while holding a banner which referred to the protest as peaceful, according to DW.
In Afghanistan, Taliban leaders called for members of Afghan government forces to attack Dutch troops stationed in the country.
“If they truly believe themselves to be Muslims or have any covenant toward Islam should turn their weapons on Dutch troops,” the Taliban’s statement read according to Reuters.
The Netherlands currently has around 100 troops serving in Afghanistan in support of Operation Resolute Support. According to the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) Operation Resolute Support is a “NATO-led mission to train, advise and assist the Afghan security forces and institutions.”
Wilders previously came under fire for anti-Islamic rhetoric in 2016 when he was convicted of “inciting discrimination against Muslims” during a campaign rally.