The largest Moroccan grouping in the Netherlands has said it will file a complaint against far-right politician Geert Wilders, after he told supporters he would ensure there were “fewer Moroccans” in the country.
“Today we are meeting police where we’ll file a discrimination-based complaint against Wilders,” Habib el Kaddouri, a coordinator at the Grouping of Dutch-Moroccans Foundation (SMN), told AFP news agency on Thursday.
Television pictures late on Wednesday showed Wilders in The Hague asking supporters after local government elections whether they wanted “fewer or more Moroccans in your city and in the Netherlands?”.
“Fewer! Fewer!” the crowd shouted, with a smiling Wilders answering: “We’re going to organise that.”
“We believe by targeting a specific group, Wilders this time has gone too far,” El Kaddouri said, referring to a 2011 court case that saw the politician acquitted on hate-speech charges.
The court ruled that Wilders had targeted a religion, which is permitted under Dutch freedom of speech laws, rather than a specific ethnic group.
‘Freedom of speech’
Wilders, who is often reviled in Dutch immigrant communities for his fiery anti-Islam rhetoric, has in the past compared the Quran to Hitler’s Mein Kampf and has called Islam a fascist religion.
In the run-up to Wednesday’s local elections he canvassed on an anti-Moroccan ticket, last week saying a city like The Hague could do “with fewer Moroccans”.
Wilders told supporters on Wednesday he was allowed to ask the question because it fell under freedom of speech “and we have said nothing we’re not allowed to”.
“Statements like these however make us feel very insecure,” El Kaddouri said.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte also criticised Wilders, saying his comments “left a bad taste in the mouth”.
“He again has gone too far,” he told local news agency ANP.
Wilders’ Party for Freedom (PVV) candidates stood in two cities on Wednesday, seeking a morale boost ahead of May’s European Parliament elections.
The PVV won in Almere, east of Amsterdam, and came second in The Hague.