Geert Wilders, Dutch anti-Islam MP, defiant over anti-migrant website


Geert Wilders, the Dutch anti-Islam lawmaker, has told critics of an anti-migrant worker forum on his party's website to "mind your own business."

Dutch anti-discrimination officers have received nearly 3,000 complaints about the Freedom Party (PVV) website, which has called on citizens to report "central and east Europeans … for general nuisance, pollution and labor market displacement," Agence France-Presse quoted an official as saying Wednesday.

While many of the complaints had come from both from east and central Europeans living in the Netherlands, others had come from Dutch nationals and from abroad, said Geert-Jan Ankome, the head of the anti-discrimination office, the LBA.

However, he said, officers would not be taking the case to the Dutch courts, because legal action had little chance of success.

The site has also drawn criticism from politicians and diplomats, and from the European Commission, which according to Reuters said it ran against European principles of freedom of movement.

"We call on all citizens of the Netherlands not to follow this intolerance. Citizens should instead clearly state on the PVV's website that Europe is a place of freedom," EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding reportedly said in a statement.

European Commission spokeswoman Pia Ahrenkilde-Hansen has also reportedly hinted that the site could be breaching hate speech laws. Wilders last year was charged with hate speech after comparing Islam to fascism and calling for a ban on the Quran, but acquitted.

And ambassadors from 10 eastern and central European countries writing an open letter to the government Tuesday complaining about the site, the Associated Press reported.

Meanwhile, trade groups have warned that the site was tarnishing the image of Dutch companies who did business in eastern Europe, the AP wrote, noting that: "The Netherlands is one of the biggest foreign investors in Poland, with thousands of Poles traveling to the Netherlands to find work."

However last week, the Dutch government — led by the the Liberal-Christian Democrat coalition, which relies on the PVV for its parliamentary majority — refused to ban the website, saying it was a matter for Wilders' party.

Reuters notes that the government's popularity "has grown on the back of its tough stance on immigrants, notably Muslims but also from European countries, including EU members such as Poland."

And an unrepentant Wilders, meantime, in an interview with the AP called the site "an enormous success" that had already drawn more than 40,000 comments.

"My reaction to the ambassadors is: Mind your own business. This has nothing to do with your country," Wilders said. "We are a sovereign country, we are a democratic political party and we voice the concerns of many Dutchmen."

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