A conservative backlash against Muslim extremism and a growing immigration problem continues to grow as evidenced by the local Dutch elections on Wednesday in which the , led by Geert Wilders, showed increasing momentum heading into the June national elections.
Wilders has been a controversial figure in the Netherlands as he has compared the Quran to a “fascist” manifesto and likened it to Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf.” He has been vehement in his opposition to Muslim immigration stating that they are a direct threat and enemy to the Dutch way of life. Muslims currently make up six percent of the population in the Netherlands. Dutch politics are in something of a holding pattern currently as the centrist government of Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende collapsed, which forces a recall of 1600 Dutch soldiers in Afghanistan.
Wilders’ Freedom Party is new on the scene but is already making inroads against the Christian Democrats and Labor parties. Left leaning parties have vowed refusal to work with Wilders should he make further gains. Both the Christian Democrats and Labor lost ground in the Wednesday’s election results. The Freedom Party ran only in Almere, where they won and The Hague, where they finished second. “Today Almere and The Hague, tomorrow the whole Netherlands,” said Wilders.
“We are going to win back the Netherlands from the leftist elite that believes in cuddling criminals, that believes in Islam and multiculturalism and the idiocy of development aid and the European superstate.” Wilders began his career as a liberal and has been a member of parliament for over a decade. He has called for a ban on Muslim immigration, mosque construction, and for a tax on Muslim women that wear head scarves. Wilders goal is for his party to gain enough seats in June to be included in the coalition government negotiations that will follow.