The Hague: An anti-Islam lawmaker in
the Netherlands is forming an international alliance to spread
his message across the West in a bid to ban immigration from
Islamic countries, among other goals.
Geert Wilders told The Associated Press in an
interview today he will launch the movement late this year,
initially in five countries: the US, Canada, Britain, France
"The message, `stop Islam, defend freedom,` is a
message that`s not only important for the Netherlands but for
the whole free Western world," Wilders said at the Dutch
Among the group`s aims will be outlawing
immigration from Islamic countries to the West and a ban on
Islamic Sharia law. Starting as a grass-roots movement, he
hopes it eventually will produce its own lawmakers or
influence other legislators.
Ayhan Tonca, a prominent spokesman for Dutch
Muslims, said he feared Wilders message would fall on fertile
ground in much of Europe, where anti-Islam sentiment has been
swelling for years.
"So long as things are going badly with the
economy, a lot of people always need a scapegoat," Tonca said.
"At the moment, that is the Muslims in Western Europe."
Tonca called on "well meaning people in Europe to
Known for his bleached-blond mop of hair, Wilders
is a shrewd politician who has won awards in the Netherlands
for his debating skills and regularly stands up for gay and
But he rose to local and then international
prominence with his firebrand anti-Islam rhetoric that has led
to him being charged under Dutch anti-hate speech laws and
banned from visiting Britain - until a court there ordered
that he be allowed into the country.
He said he hopes to position the alliance between
traditional conservative parties and far-right wing groups,
saying that in Britain there is "an enormous gap" between the
ruling Conservative Party and the far-right British National
"The BNP is a party that, whatever you think of it,
it`s not my party - I think it`s a racist party," Wilders
Wilders, who calls Islam a "fascist" religion, has
seen his support in the Netherlands soar in recent years, even
while he has been subjected to round-the-clock protection
because of death threats.
His Freedom Party won the biggest gains in a
national election last month, coming third with 24 seats in
the 150-seat Parliament, up from the nine before the election.