August 26, 2016
The political party of Dutch far-right politician, Geert Wilders, has pledged to close mosques and ban Islam’s holy book of Quran amid growing Islamophobic sentiments in the European country.
In a document outlining its electoral program ahead of March 2017 parliamentary elections, the Freedom Party, known by its Dutch acronym PVV, said all mosques and Islamic schools must be closed in the Netherlands.
“All mosques and Islamic schools closed, a ban on the Koran,” said the document, which was posted on Wilders’ Twitter feed Thursday.
He also vowed to close the borders, ban refugees from Islamic countries, shut asylum seeker centers and prevent Muslim women from wearing the headscarf in public.
Wilders, who is scheduled to go on trial for inciting racial hatred, has said he will do all he can to hold a referendum on the Netherlands leaving the EU.
Opinion polls have for months given Wilders’ party the edge over the current coalition parties of the Labour Party and the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy, led by Prime Minister Mark Rutte.
Late last year polls predicted soaring support for the PVV saying it could gain as many as 38 seats in the 150-seat parliament. In August, a poll from Ipsos gave it 28 seats — still way up on the 12 it currently has.
The developments come as the refugee crisis has polarized the country, leading to a heated debate over the issue as well as attacks on refugee centers.
Anti-refugee sentiments have also swayed regional and national elections across Europe in recent years.
International organizations and rights groups have expressed concern over an increase in the number of arson attacks on refugee shelters.
Europe is facing an unprecedented influx of refugees, most of whom are fleeing conflict zones in Africa and the Middle East, particularly Syria.
Many blame major European powers for the unprecedented exodus, saying their policies have led to a surge in terrorism and war in the violence-hit regions, forcing more people out of their homes.