Party for Freedom leader Geert Wilders is deeply concerned about Muslim integration. In our series Islam in the Netherlands he is warning about the "perishing"of our culture. "It is not five to twelve or two to twelve, it is almost morning!" The leader of the second party in the country is pondering about very far-reaching measures.
Geert Wilders (54) is not surprised at the shocking poll results released by daily newspaper De Telegraaf. The fact that only thirteen percent of the Dutch population feel that the problem of integration will solve itself is a writing on the wall, according to him. And that only eleven percent of the Dutch see Islam as an enrichment proves in his opinion that what he has been calling for years. "If I had said that three years ago, I would have had tens of thousands of police reports thrown at me. But people are completely fed up with it. "
How do you explain the figures?
"Decades ago, a few thousand people from Islamic countries would stay temporarily. But temporarily turned out to be permanently. Those thousands of guest workers became hundreds of thousands. And in Europe millions of people by now. Back then those people were called upon to integrate and assimilate. But Islam, the word says it already, seeks to dominate. Not long ago Professor Koopmans found that as much as seventy percent of Muslims find Islamic rules more important than secular laws. In Europe almost weekly innocent people are slaughtered in name of Allah and Islam. Proudly. We have been declared war and we refuse to defend ourselves."
Who is responsible for this?
"I think that probably the worst of all is that Western European politicians have allowed this to happen. Last week Sybrand Buma of the Christian democratic party CDA was suddenly critical of Islam. That is like a bank robber who, twenty years after the robbery, has spent all the money and apologizes for doing so. He is the one who did it. CDA has been in power in the Netherlands for 50 years. "
Is it not a bit blunt to say ...
... that Muslims do not integrate?
"I am talking about Islam. But research also points out that 11 percent of Dutch Muslims in the Netherlands are prepared to use violence on behalf of their religion. That is a 110,000 people, twice the size of the Dutch army! "
But perhaps many Muslims in fact take Islam less serious and profess their faith behind the front door, peacefully. Secretary Asscher of Integration said in this paper last week that those people should not be held accountable for terrorist attacks.
"Do you know, secretary Asscher and Prime Minister Rutte are two sides of the same coin. After the second attack in June, Rutte said that Muslims are double the victim, because they are not only victims of attacks, but also blamed for it as a group. For all I care everyone is free to get all teary-eyed but we will perish if we continue. It reminds me of what happened after the murder of Theo van Gogh. Some people, even members of the Royal House, went to a mosque as a first response. That is total cowardice. We are the victims."
Who are we? Does it not also include those Muslims not engaged in fanaticism? This way people are categorized into a group they do not feel connected to at all.
"Then take your distance from that group. Of course I do not say that all Muslims are cheering at an attack. But I can hardly listen to it, the terror attack commemorations in Parliament. I think we have had ten to twelve this year. I am attending, out of respect for the relatives and the victims and will continue to do so. But every time Rutte reads the same a4-format paper, only altering the name of the city and country where the attack took place. The man does not show any action. "
How do you liberate yourself from the Islamic yoke in your opinion?
So people must renounce their faith?
"There is nothing they must do. But I would tell: freedom is such a splendorous thing. You do not have anything like it in Islam. I can not force people to leave Islam. They must above all realize what is going on in their minds. But the real concern is what happens in the public space. What is happening in my country and whether we should have more or less of that. "
There are also Muslims who were born in the Netherlands. The country is just as much their country as it is yours.
"For those people that could apply, but not to Islam."
But according to the constitution it does, a Muslim born here is considered Dutch. According to the Constitution he or she has an equal right to express what the Netherlands should look like.
"We live in a free country. But in my opinion Islam is not a religion. It is a totalitarian, dangerous and violent ideology, dressed up as a religion. People are allowed to think whatever they like, but I also have the right to say that Islam should not be included in the constitutional freedoms.
Can a Muslim not just be moderate?
"According to the Quran that is not possible. I personally believe there are extremist people and moderate people. But I do not believe in two kinds of Islam. There is only one. One that is impossible to reform. And even if it would be the case, we can not afford to wait for another 150 or 300 years. I think it will never happen. You get your head chopped off should you wish to interpret Islam."
What do you think should happen?
"Recognize the problem. Dare to say that Islam does not integrate. Define Islam as a violent totalitarian undemocratic thing. And stop immigration from Islamic countries. During cabinet Rutte II, a 100,000 Muslims were added. These are not all terrorists or bad people, but it is 100,000 times more Islam entering the Netherlands."
There was a war. People were on the move, lost their homes.
"That was not the case. If they were refugees, they would have stopped in the first safe country after Syria. By the way, this is also part of the solution: all Syrians must return! Tomorrow! Why not? That country is safe. This is our country. Why would a Syrian be able to return from the refugee camps in Jordan or Lebanon and not from a refugee centre here? "
Because the land is in ruins and dictator Assad uses poison gas against his own people for example.
"There are many countries in the world that have not very pleasant regimes."
Back to the Netherlands. We also have a constitution in this country that protects such things as freedom of education and religion. Should that be altered?
"I do not see the word Islam in any constitution, but in jurisprudence Islam is considered to be a religion."
Do you want to put into law that Islam is not a religion?
"We will have to see about legal possibilities Can it be done, how can it be done and what way can it be done. But it's definitely worth studying"
So you want to ban Islam?
"I do not rule out that this may be necessary in the long run. It will concern the expressions. You can not ban an idea, that's impossible. You can not ban communism either. "
There is religious freedom in this country. But you want to record that Islam is not a religion.
"In my opinion it is not part of religious freedom. That is my political wish. How to execute such a thing is wish number two. "
That is very useful for a politician if he makes a statement. What should we think of?
"That is what we have to look into. I have now lifted a tip of the veil. "
Many people will be startled when they read this.
"We are not going to collect Qurans from people's homes. What is going on behind their front door is their business. We are talking about public space, but it is too early to say anything about it now. "
Does this not make it very casual?
"No. I have ventilated this for ten years.
"Some things you mention you have. But banning Islam is something different.
"If it is possible to put it into law, we will put it into law. But it will be about expressions. Recently we have also drafted an administrative detention bill for jihadists. I realize all problems will not be solved tomorrow by closing a mosque. You must make it unattractive in this country to profess Islam. People who want to come to the Netherlands from Islamic countries should think: this is not a place we want to go to! And we do not do this to bully Muslims, but to keep the Netherlands of the future a free Netherlands."
Are Islam and modernity compatible? Photo: Wikipedia.
This interview was published today in De Telegraaf, the largest daily newspaper in The Netherlands, and was translated by the Party for Freedom.