Turkey condemns Dutch lawmaker’s anti-Islam tweet

Far-right politician Gert Wilders made disparaging remarks about the religion at the start of Ramadan.

Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders, right, at the appeal over his conviction for racial discrimination in 2019 [Lex Van Lieshout/EPA-EFE]

Turkish officials reacted angrily to far-right Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders after he made disparaging remarks about Islam at the start of Ramadan.

On Monday, Wilders, chairman of the Party for Freedom (PVV) in the Netherlands, shared a short video clip on Twitter attacking Islam and the Muslim holy month.

Turkey’s ruling AK Party spokesman Omer Celik on Wednesday accused Wilders of having “a racist and fascist mind”.

“Enemies of Islam also hate migrants, poor people, needy people and foreigners,” he said on Twitter.

Ali Erbas, the head of the Presidency of Religious Affairs, condemned Wilders’ remarks as “unacceptable”.

“I invite the international community to a conscious struggle against the racist mentality that incites Islamophobia and targets social peace,” Erbas said.

Turkey’s Communications Director Fahrettin Altun also condemned Wilder’s remarks.

“Heartless @geertwilderspvv is racist, fascist and extremist. Islam condemns all. Stop racism,” Altun said on Twitter, tagging the Dutch lawmaker.

Wilders is one of Europe’s most prominent far-right politicians and has been a key figure in shaping the immigration debate in the Netherlands over the past decade, although he has never been in government.

Wilders – whose political career has been based largely on his strident anti-Islam rhetoric – has frequently shocked the Dutch political establishment and offended Muslims.

He was acquitted in a 2011 hate speech trial for remarks likening Islam to Nazism and calling for a ban on the Quran. He was acquitted by an appeals court of racial discrimination last year, although it upheld a conviction for intentionally insulting Moroccans as a group.

Wilders has lived under tight security for 16 years because of death threats following his anti-Islam rhetoric.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lodged a criminal complaint against the Dutch lawmaker last year after he posted a series of insulting tweets against the Turkish leader.

Source: Al Jazeera