The Atlantic

When The Netherlands Had a Muslim-Majority Empire

Geert Wilders's brand of hostility to Islam has deep roots in Dutch society.

Source: Yves Herman / Reuters

Perhaps the key question hanging over Wednesday’s parliamentary elections in the Netherlands is whether the right-wing, anti-Islam Freedom Party can finally cement its place as a national political powerhouse. The party’s leader, Geert Wilders, is frequently characterized as the country’s Donald Trump: He sports an over-the-top peroxide blond bouffant, and uses inflammatory language to warn about the alleged Muslim threat. During a 2015 Dutch parliamentary debate about how the Netherlands should respond to the refugee crisis, Wilders described the movement of refugees as “[m]asses of young men in their 20’s with beards singing Allahu Akbar across Europe. It's an invasion that threatens our prosperity, our security, our culture and identity.” He has compared the Koran to Mein Kampf, adopted the slogan “Make the Netherlands Great Again,” and was convicted last December by Dutch courts for inciting hatred against the country’s Moroccan immigrant community.

Wilders’s party is projected to pick up around 15 percent of seats in the Dutch parliament, which could make it the nation’s largest political party

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