Rise of racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia worries in Netherlands

Published 11.03.2017 17:07
Updated 12.03.2017 13:27
A demonstrator carries a sign reading PVV - The party of free market policy and xenophobia , during a march in Amsterdam, Netherlands, March 11, 2017. (Reuters Photo)
A demonstrator carries a sign reading "PVV - The party of free market policy and xenophobia" , during a march in Amsterdam, Netherlands, March 11, 2017. (Reuters Photo)

Ahead of March 15 election in the Netherlands, the rise of xenophobia, racism, anti-Muslim propaganda in the Western European countries, and particularly the Netherlands, has reached worrisome levels.

Geert Wilders and his far-right, anti-Islam, xenophobic Party for Freedom (PVV) had been riding high on a wave of populism and looked on course to win.

Wilders' party the PVV, which vowed to bar Muslim immigrants, close mosques and ban sales of the Koran, referring to Dutch citizens of Morrocan led the polls until recently. Wilders himself raised public's ire when he referred to Dutch citizens of Morrocan origins as ''scum'' last February.

The latest weekly poll, released this week by the Dutch Polling Indicator, predicted that the PVV will win 25 seats, just one seat more than Prime Minister Mark Rutte's ruling People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD).


Over the last months and years, the Netherlands has experienced a surge in racist, anti-Semitic, anti-Islam hate attacks which caused serious concerns among its population.

Concerned Muslim citizens established the DENK party in February 2015. The party officially focuses on combating widespread racism, discrimination and xenophobia.

Critics pretend that, in a effort to counter rising far-right populism, the Dutch ruling party developed a rhetoric and policies which are reminiscent of the PVV.

Lastly, the government of Netherlands, which hosts several hundreds of thousands Turkish citizens, aligned with Wilders's anti-Turkish, anti-Muslim rhetoric, and went as far as barring the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu from meeting with the Turkish community in the country on Saturday.

Earlier this week, Çavuşoğlu said that the Dutch government officials were sending him ''secret messages'' that they had to cancel his meeting with the Turks living in the country to ''avoid making Wilders' PVV gain more propaganda ground before the elections.''

Turkish government officials, as well as analysts have been warning the Netherlands, along with its neighboring countries, over the rise of practices reminiscent of the Nazi, fascist era in Europe, while also reminding them on several occasions that racist, xenophobic, anti-Islam policies cannot be defeated by conceding compromises to hateful views, and adopting similar populist rhetoric and practices aiming to garner votes from the electorate likely to vote for political parties preaching extremist views.

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