Even if the Dutch politcian Geert Wilders had won and if the Party for Freedom (PVV) he established eleven years ago had become the first party in the country, he would not have been able to become the head of the government. The heads of all the other political parties said they would reject any alliance with him ; they maintain this position to this day.
For years, the Dutch mainstream media have spread hatred and defamation against Wilders for trying to warn the Dutch people - and Europe - about what their future will be if they continue their current immigration policies; in exchange, last December, a panel of three judges found him guilty of "inciting discrimination". Newspapers and politicians all over Europe unceasingly describe him as a dangerous man and a rightist firebrand. Sometimes they call him a "fascist".
What did Geert Wilders ever do to deserve that? None of his remarks ever incriminated any person or group because of their race or ethnicity. To charge him, the Dutch justice system had excessively and abusively to interpret words he used during a rally in which he asked if the Dutch wanted "fewer Moroccans." None of Wilders's speeches incites violence against anyone; the violence that surrounds him is directed only at him. He defends human rights and democratic principles and he is a resolute enemy of all forms of anti-Semitism.
His only "crime" is to denounce the danger represented by the Islamization of the Netherlands and the rest of Europe and to claim that Islam represents a mortal threat to freedom. Unfortunately, he has good empirical reasons to say that. Also unfortunately, the Netherlands is a country where criticism of Islam is particularly dangerous: Theo van Gogh made an "Islamically incorrect" film in 2004 and was savagely murdered by an Islamist who said he would kill again if he could. Two years earlier, Pim Fortuyn, who had hoped to stand for election, defined Islam as a "hostile religion" ; he was killed by a leftist Islamophile animal-rights activist. Geert Wilders is alive only because he is under around-the-clock police protection graciously provided by the Dutch government.
More broadly, the Netherlands is a country where the Muslim community shows few signs of integration. There are now forty no-go zones in the country; riots easily erupt, recently in Rotterdam, Amsterdam and Nijmegen. People recently from other countries repeatedly attack Dutch-born citizens. Some are so sure of their impunity that they publish online videos of their crimes. Throughout the country, an ethnic cleansing that Europeans are too scared to name is taking place in the suburbs, and non-Muslim residents often say they feel harassed.
Non-Muslim women are encouraged by local authorities to dress "modestly". As in Islam dogs are haram (impure), dog owners are asked to keep their pets indoors. In 2014, 2015 and 2016, Islamists demonstrated and shouted slogans in support of Hamas and the Islamic State.
Daily life has become particularly difficult for the 40,000 Jews still living in the country; districts long inhabited by members of the Jewish community have become almost entirely Muslim. Authorities recommend that Jews avoid any "visible sign" of Jewishness to avoid creating "unrest". Muslim delinquency is high; the percentage of Muslims sent to jail for various crimes is notably higher than the percentage of Muslims in the population. Six percent of the country's population are Muslim; about 20% of all inmates are Muslim. None of this is secret.
The only person talking about these problems is Geert Wilders. Dutch political leaders and most journalists seemingly prefer to claim that Geert Wilders is the problem; that if he were not there, these problems would not exist. At best, they utter fuzzy words intended to show strength; at worst, they turn their back.
A large percentage of the Dutch population is anxious; the constant demonization of Geert Wilders apparently tries to indoctrinate the people to settle for less.
A year ago, London's Muslim Mayor Sadiq Khan stated that "living with terror attacks is 'part and parcel of living in a big city." It did not used to be that way . Rotterdam's Muslim mayor, Ahmed Abutaleb used harsher words; he said that migrants had to "respect the law or go home".
In late January, the incumbent prime minister, Mark Rutte, published a full-page advertisement in several newspapers warning immigrants to "act normal or be gone"; he did not use the word "Islam". On March 11, 2017, four days before the Dutch elections, Rutte decided to send a "strong message" to bar Turkish ministers from speaking in Rotterdam. Voters who had considered supporting Geert Wilders voted instead for Rutte's People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD); he thereby secured a last minute win. Wilders's party came in second. The Party for Freedom (PVV) won five more seats than before, but will have only 20 seats, out of 150. Rutte's VVD will have 33 seats. The Labor party, Rutte's main ally until March 15, collapsed and is down to nine seats, its worst result ever. The left, however, is not retreating: GroenLinks, a party largely made of former communists and radical environmentalists won 14 seats,10 more than before. The Socialist Party won 14 seats. Democrats 66, a "social-liberal", "progressive" and multicultural party won 19 seats, almost as much as the Party for Freedom. A Muslim party, Denk (Dutch for "think, Turkish for "equality "), won three seats. The VNL, a conservative party established by two former Party for Freedom members, was beaten so severely it will have no seat at all.
The next Dutch government will be a coalition of four parties, maybe five, and probably lean more to the left than previous governments. It will certainly include Democrats 66, and could include Groenlinks.
In the years to come, the situation in the country is certin to deteriorate. The Netherlands' fertility rate (1.68 children per woman) is not as catastrophic as in Germany, Italy or Spain, but is far below the replacement rate. The Muslim birth rate is higher than the non-Muslim one. Dozens of churches close each year due to the rapid decline in the number of practicing Christians; the churches are replaced by mosques. Radical preachers keep coming and proselytizing; Islamist organizations keep recruiting. In a report on the Islamization of the Netherlands published ten years ago, Manfred Gerstenfeld wrote that "resistance to radical forces within the Dutch Muslim community is weak". Nothing has changed since that time.
What is happening in the Netherlands is similar to what is happening in most European countries. In the United Kingdom, Belgium, France, Germany and Sweden, the number of no-go zones is rapidly growing. Islamic riots occur more and more often. Ethnic gangs are growing more violent. Ethnic cleansing is transforming neighborhoods. Jews are leaving for Israel or North America.The Muslim population is sharply increasing. Radical mosques are proliferating. Islamic organizations are everywhere.
Politicians who dare to speak the way Geert Wilders does are treated the way Geert Wilders is treated : scorned, marginalized, put on trial.
The vision of the world in Western Europe is now 'hegemonic'. It is based on the idea that the Western world is guilty; that all cultures are equal, and that Islamic culture is "more equal" than Western culture because Islam was supposedly so long oppressed by the West. What adherents of this view, that the West is guilty, "forget" is that Islam long oppressed the West: Muslim armies conquered Persia, the Christian Byzantine Empire, North Africa and the Middle East, Spain, Greece, Hungary, Serbia and the Balkans, and virtually all of Eastern Europe. The Muslim armies were a constant threat until the marauding Ottoman troops were finally turned away at the Gates of Vienna in 1683.
This European vision also includes the idea that all conflicts can be peacefully settled, that appeasement is almost always a solution, and that Europe has no enemies.
It also stands on the idea that an enlightened elite must have the power, because if Adolf Hitler came to power through democratic means eighty years ago, letting people freely decide their fate might lead to ill.
The dream seems to be of a utopian future where poverty will be overcome by welfare systems, and violence will be defeated by openness and love.
It is this vision of the world that may have prompted Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel to open the doors to more than a million unvetted Muslim migrants, despite a migrant crime wave and an increasing number of rapes and sexual assaults. The only candidate likely to beat Angela Merkel in this year's German elections is a socialist, Martin Schulz, a former European Parliament president.
In France, Marine Le Pen, the only candidate who speaks of Islam and immigration, will almost certainly be defeated by Emmanuel Macron, a former minister in the government of François Hollande -- a man who see no evil anywhere.
It is this vision of the world that also seems to have led British Prime Minister Theresa May to say that the Islamic attack on March 22 in Westminster was "not an act of Islamic terrorism".
This romanticized, utopian vision of the world also explains why in Europe, people such as Geert Wilders are seen as the incarnation of evil, but radical Islam is considered a marginal nuisance bearing no relation to the "religion of peace". Meanwhile, Wilders is condemned to live under protection as if he were in jail, while those who want to slaughter him -- and who threaten millions of people in Europe -- walk around free.
This adolescent vision is so embedded in the minds of millions of Europeans that a lot fast growing-up will be required to eradicate it.
Dr. Guy Millière, a professor at the University of Paris, is the author of 27 books on France and Europe.