Anti-Islam bloc formed by Dutch lawmaker
THE HAGUE, Netherlands — An anti-Islam lawmaker in the Netherlands is forming an international alliance to spread his message across the West in a bid to ban immigration from Islamic countries, among other goals.
Geert Wilders said in an interview yesterday that he will launch the movement late this year, initially in five countries: the United States, Canada, Britain, France, and Germany.
“The message, ‘stop Islam, defend freedom,’ is a message that is not only important for the Netherlands but for the whole free Western world,’’ Wilders said at the Dutch Parliament.
Among the group’s aims will be outlawing immigration from Islamic countries to the West and a ban on Islamic Sharia law.
Starting as a grass-roots movement, he hopes it eventually will produce its own lawmakers or influence other legislators.
Ayhan Tonca, a prominent spokesman for Dutch Muslims, said he feared Wilders’s message would fall on fertile ground in much of Europe, where anti-Islam sentiment has been swelling for years.
“So long as things are going badly with the economy, a lot of people always need a scapegoat,’’ Tonca said. “At the moment, that is the Muslims in Western Europe.’’
Tonca called on “well meaning people in Europe to oppose this.’’
Wilders rose to international prominence with his firebrand anti-Islam rhetoric that has led to him being charged under Dutch anti-hate speech laws and banned from visiting Britain, until a court there ordered that he be allowed into the country.
Wilders, who calls Islam a “fascist’’ religion, has seen his support in the Netherlands soar in recent years.