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Backgrounder: Geert Wilders

Posted: September 8, 2010

Updated: September 13, 2010


Geert Wilders, Dutch Parliamentarian and head of the third largest party in Holland, has sought to advance a conspiratorial anti-Muslim agenda for many years. Wilders has described Muslims as a threat to European democracies, has advocated for banning immigration to Holland from Muslim-majority countries and promoted legislation that will severely restrict the practice of Islam, including a ban on the Qur'an in Holland.


In the past several years, Wilders has made it his "mission" to "warn people of the Islamization of our Western societies," claiming that Europe is on the verge falling under the sway of Islam. According to Wilders, Islam is "not a religion" but rather a "totalitarian ideology" akin to National Socialism. He has described the Qur'an as being "even worse than Mein Kampf."


Wilders rejects the division of Muslims into moderates and extremists, stating that "according to the Qur'an, there are no moderate Muslims." He further claims that the fact that most Muslims are law-abiding citizens and have no connection to terrorism is irrelevant, because Islam is an expansionist and aggressive ideology.


Any accommodation to Islamic practice is a danger to democracy and a victory for Islam, according to Wilders. "Islam is something we can't afford any more in the Netherlands," Wilders said. "That means no more mosques, no more Islamic schools, no more imams." In an October 2008 interview, Wilders warned of Muslim immigrants and their descendents "who are coming to the Netherlands to stirrup problems," saying that "they are not here to integrate but to dominate."


Wilders seeks to create legislation in Europe to support his notion of the supremacy of Christianity, Judaism and humanism over "Islamic culture," which he has described as "a culture of backwardness, of retardedness, of barbarism." According to Wilders, Islam can not, or at least is not likely to, reform and is "totally contrary to our values."


On September 11, 2010, Wilders served as the keynote speaker at a demonstration organized by Stop the Islamization of America (SIOA) against the proposed Islamic Center in downtown New York. In his speech, Wilders called on New York to "defend itself against the powers of darkness" by not allowing the center to be built.  "We can never tolerate a mosque on Ground Zero," he said, calling the proposed center "a house of shari'a" and arguing that "America, New York, and shari'a are incompatible." Wilders told demonstrators that "we must never give a free hand to those who want to subjugate us."


In March 2008, Wilders received significant international attention after releasing online a short film called Fitna. The film simplistically depicts Islam as a violent religion, interspersing verses from the Qur'an with graphic scenes of terrorism.   


The Freedom Party (PVV), which Wilders heads, captured 15 percent of the vote during the June 2010 election and now has 24 MPs in the 150-seat Dutch parliament. Wilders's ascent is closely linked to his party's focus on immigration and Islam. In 2004 Wilders left the Liberal Party (VVD), the largest conservative party in the Netherlands, in protest of its support of admitting Turkey into the EU. The following year he formed the PVV in order advance his idea for a temporary moratorium on immigration from Turkey and Morocco.

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