Dutch Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders again made international headlines. Nazi comparisons are rampant, self-proclaimed victims are lining up to sue and now more than ever there is a chance that Wilders actually might be convicted of hate speech.
In an interview on the Dutch Public News Service [NOS] on March 12, Wilders said (10:10): "[People] will now be voting for a safer, a more social, and... in any case a city with fewer costs, and, if at all possible, with fewer Moroccans."
Geert Wilders is interviewed while campaigning, March 12, 2014. (Image source: Video screenshot from Dutch Public News)
Based on those numbers, Wilders seems to imply that if there were not such a large number of Moroccans, Dutch crime rates and social welfare costs would significantly drop.
Wilder proposes that Dutch Moroccans who are habitual criminal offenders should be deprived of their Dutch passports and sent back to Morocco, an act that is possible as all Moroccans and their descendants are, by Moroccan law, prohibited from relinquishing their Moroccan passports.
Moroccans also apparently derive status from prison sentences. Evidently, upon their release, many gloat. Apparently it is only the thought of having to trade the luxury of the Netherlands -- even prison -- for Morocco that strikes terror into the hearts of potential offenders. In Italy, the same threat is already in effect and acts as a successful deterrent. It seems as if it is only the threat of deportation, more than any other measure, that is likely to deter young Moroccans from a life of crime.
Although the proposal is being used by Wilders's opponents as either a laughing stock or beating stick, the merits of the proposal are rarely elaborated on, including even by Wilders. A recent poll showed 76% of Dutch voters to be in favor of the measure.
The NOS, interviewing Wilders again on March 14, asked him if he actually meant what he had said regarding Moroccans in general, possibly expecting him to say that he had only been referring to Dutch Moroccan criminals. But Wilders stood firm. He emphasized that his concern lay with the number of Moroccans currently flooding the crime statistics, and repeatedly stated, "The fewer Moroccans, the better."
"Can you imagine that people are startled by your remarks?" he was asked.
"It is unfortunate if people are startled by the truth," he said.
This latest round of anger against Wilders began after the announcement of voting results on March 19. At the end of his victory speech, Wilders remarked, "And the third question is, and I'm actually not allowed to say this, because I'm being sued, and there might even be Social Democrat DAs that would prosecute me, but freedom of speech is a great thing, and we have said nothing that is not allowed. We have said nothing that is not accurate. So I am asking you now: Do you want, in this city and the Netherlands, more or fewer Moroccans?" The crowd replied: "Fewer, fewer, fewer!"
That time, however, after the event, Wilders did nuance his views. He stated that he was referring to criminals, and only in favor of the voluntary repatriation of law-abiding Moroccans.
Now the police have apparently decided to become part of the prosecution. They have drafted pre-filled "Wilders forms" to press charges and have offered to come to people's homes to fill out the paperwork.
Is Wilders a racist? He recently tweeted: "Support for Moroccan businesswomen Elou Akhiat. It is a shame she receives death threats over opening a wine bar."