Wilders to air cartoons of Prophet Muhammad on Dutch TV

Anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders says he will show images of Prophet Muhammad during airtime allocated to his party.

    Wilders said the broadcast was likely to take place in the next few weeks [AP]
    Wilders said the broadcast was likely to take place in the next few weeks [AP]

    Anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders has said he plans to show cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad on Dutch television after the country's parliament refused to display them.

    Wilders said on Wednesday that he would show the images during television airtime reserved for political parties, in a move likely to offend Muslims since Islamic tradition holds that any physical depiction of the prophet is blasphemous.

    Political parties in the Netherlands get a small amount of airtime each year and broadcasting authorities have no say in what the parties show.

    Wilders said the broadcast would likely take place in the next few weeks, but an exact date has yet to be confirmed.

    The announcement came a month after Wilders gave a speech at a contest in Garland, Texas, for cartoon depictions of the prophet.

    Shortly after Wilders left the event, it was targeted by two men with pistols and assault rifles. Security guards shot and killed the attackers.

    'Not intimidated'

    Wilders, whose Freedom Party holds 12 of the 150 seats in parliament's lower house, told the AP news agency he wants to air cartoons from the Texas competition to support people "who use the pen and not the sword".

    "If we say, 'It might be offensive, so let's not do it,' then we send a signal to the people who wanted to get into the event in Texas ... and all their followers that it works," he said.

    "That we can be intimidated, that we get frightened."

    Wilders is no stranger to pushing the boundaries of free speech and targeting Islam. He has lived under round-the-clock protection since 2004 because of death threats.

    He was acquitted of hate speech in 2011 as judges said that his anti-Islam rhetoric came in the context of a fierce national debate about immigration and multiculturalism.

    Wilders is again facing prosecution for hate speech over a chant last year in which he asked his supporters whether they wanted more or fewer Moroccans in the Netherlands and they shouted back: "Fewer! Fewer! Fewer!"

    SOURCE: Associated Press


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