Dutch police arrest man over alleged plot to kill Geert Wilders

Controversial politician announced plans for a drawing competition of Prophet Mohammad cartoons for later this year.

    Geert Wilders was allegedly the target of an assassination attempt, police say [Robin Van Lonkhuijsen/EPA-EFE]
    Geert Wilders was allegedly the target of an assassination attempt, police say [Robin Van Lonkhuijsen/EPA-EFE]

    The Dutch police on Tuesday arrested a man suspected of planning an attack against far-right politician Geert Wilders after he said he intended to hold a Prophet Mohammad cartoon competition.

    Police said in a statement they arrested the still unidentified suspect at the main railway station in The Hague.

    He was being questioned and was expected to appear before a judge on Friday, the statement said.

    Police said they had been alerted by a video on Facebook in which the 26-year-old man talked about attacking anti-Islam MP Wilders, as well as the Dutch parliament.

    Wilders, who announced plans for a competition of Mohammad cartoons earlier this year, said he had been told about the plot by the Netherlands' counterterrorism police, NCTb.

    "I was told by NCTb this morning that a man on Facebook had said that he had arrived in the Netherlands for the purpose of killing me," Wilders said via his Twitter account.

    "Fortunately, he has been arrested. It is madness that this is happening because of a drawing contest and that it is raining death threats."

    'Blasphemous activities'

    The head of the Netherlands' Party for Freedom, or PVV, Wilders is known for his virulent anti-Islam statements.

    Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has described the competition as "disrespectful" and "provocative", even though he defended the principle of freedom of expression.

    Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok also said the competition was not a government initiative.

    Pakistan's newly elected Prime Minister Imran Khan vowed to take the issue to the UN General Assembly in September.

    "Very few in the West understand the pain caused to Muslims by such blasphemous activities," said Khan on Monday.

    Last week, Pakistan's foreign office summoned the Dutch ambassador to lodge a protest, expressing its "deep concern at this deliberate and malicious attempt to defame Islam".

    Is the far right headed for victory in the Netherlands?

    Inside Story

    Is the far right headed for victory in the Netherlands?

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies


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