Geert Wilders: Political Islam is now in Southern Mexico and Latin America
Geert Wilders (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈɣeːrt ˈʋɪldərs]; born 6 September 1963) is a Dutch politician who is the founder and leader of the Party for Freedom (Partij voor de Vrijheid – PVV). Wilders is the parliamentary group leader of his party in the House of Representatives (Tweede Kamer). In the 2010 formation of the Rutte cabinet, a minority cabinet of VVD and CDA, he actively participated in the negotiations, resulting in a “support agreement” (gedoogakkoord) between the PVV and these parties, but withdrew his support in April 2012, citing disagreements with the cabinet on proposed budget cuts. Wilders is best known for his criticism of Islam; his views have made him a controversial figure in the Netherlands and abroad, and since 2004 he has been protected at all times by armed bodyguards.
Raised a Roman Catholic, Wilders left the church at his coming of age. His travels to Israel and neighbouring Arab countries as a young adult helped form his political views. Wilders worked as a speechwriter for the conservative-liberal People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (Volkspartij voor Vrijheid en Democratie – VVD), and later served as parliamentary assistant to party leader Frits Bolkestein from 1990 to 1998. He was elected to the Utrecht city council in 1996, and later to the House of Representatives. Citing irreconcilable differences over the party’s position on the accession of Turkey to the European Union, he left the VVD in 2004 to form his own party, the Party for Freedom.
Wilders has campaigned to stop what he views as the “Islamisation of the Netherlands”. He has compared the Quran to Mein Kampf and has campaigned to have the book banned in the Netherlands. He advocates ending immigration from Muslim countries, and supports banning the construction of new mosques. Wilders was a speaker at the Facing Jihad Conference held in Jerusalem in 2008, which discussed the dangers of jihad, and has called for a hard line against what he called the “street terror” exerted by minorities in Dutch cities. His controversial 2008 film featuring his views on Islam, Fitna, received international attention. He has been described in the media as populist and labeled far-right, although this is disputed by other observers. Wilders, who long refused to align himself with European far-right leaders such as Jean-Marie Le Pen and Jörg Haider and expressed concern about being “linked with the wrong rightist fascist groups”, views himself as a right-wing liberal. More recently, however, Wilders worked together with the French National Front‘s Marine Le Pen in an initially ill-fated, but eventually successful attempt to form a parliamentary group in the European Parliament which now includes parties from nine countries, among them Austria’s Freedom Party, Italy’s Northern League, and Belgium’s Flemish Interest