The leader of the racist Freedom Party Geert Wilders received a lot of criticism after a comment he made on the campaign trail at a market in The Hague on Wednesday.Geert Wilders was on a market in Loosduinen with the local frontrunner for the Freedom Party, Leon de Jong, campaigning for municipal council elections which are set for the 19th of March. During the visit Wilders stated on camera:
Most important are the people here on the market, the Hagenaars, Hagenezen and Scheveningers. We are doing it for those people. They are voting for a safer and more social city with fewer problems and, if possible also fewer Moroccans.
Although not surprising, the comment makes it clear that Wilders has now expanded his rhetoric of exclusion from not only Islam and its manifestations to an entire ethnic category: Dutch-Moroccans people.
On the night of the local elections Wilders asked his audience whether they wanted ‘more or fewer Moroccans’:
Wilders’ comments sparked outrage online. A Facebook group called “I’m filing a complaint against Wilders” was created, and it’s received numerous comments and over 97,000 likes so far. On Twitter, Dutch-Moroccans began an online selfie campaign with the hashtag #BornHere where young men and women posed with their passports to emphasize their ties to Netherlands. Dutch-Moroccans, local media and religious groups have also filed discrimination complaints against Wilders.
The controversy was covered by Al Jazeera’s The Stream with
- Joost Niemoller Journalist and blogger
- Mariam El-Maslouhi Dutch-Moroccan Foundation
- Femke Kaulingfreks Researcher
- Tofik Dibi Former Member of Parliament, The Netherlands