An anti-immigrant politician is making a meteoric rise with his call on the Dutch – once one of the most tolerant nations in the world – to stop Islam taking over Europe.
Geert Wilders, the 43-year-old leader of the Freedom Party, is convinced that governments are being forced to accommodate a “tsunami of Islamisation” that is fundamentally incompatible with European social values.
“Islam itself is the problem. Islam is a violent religion,” he told The Daily Telegraph. “The Prophet Mohammed was a violent man. The Koran is mostly a violent book. We should invest in Muslim people but they have to first get rid of half the Koran and half of their beliefs,” he said.
The Freedom Party has jumped from six to 10 per cent in opinion polls since November. His passionate campaign for a ban on the Islamic veil, or burqa, in public places is gaining such momentum that the country’s new coalition government could be forced to introduce the ban it does not support.
On the burqa, Mr Wilders is adamant: “It is a medieval token of a barbaric time, of how not to treat women, even if they want to wear it themselves,” he argues.