Anti-Islam Dutch leader Geert Wilders announces Prophet Mohammed cartoon contest to be held inside parliament office
Geert Wilders’s anti-immigrant party will hold the contest in secure offices inside the Dutch parliament building
Netherlands-based political party PVV (Party for Freedom) announced that it is going to hold a competition in which members would be invited to draw caricatures depicting Prophet Mohammed from the Koran, reported The Week.
According to the party, the plan to hold the competition in the party's secure offices in the Dutch Parliament had been approved by NCTV, the Dutch counter-terrorism agency.
"Freedom of speech is threatened, especially for Islam critics," Wilders said in a statement. "We should never accept that. Freedom of speech is our most important freedom."
After placing second in elections held in March last year, the party is the main opposition in the Dutch parliament. It is currently being led by anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders.
“Dutch Counter-terrorism Agency NCTV gives green light to Muhammad cartoon contest in secured PVV quarters of Dutch Parliament later this year,” Wilders tweeted yesterday, along with a Mohammed cartoon.
“So that’s what we’re going to do and organize! With cartoonist/ex-Muslim Bosch Fawstin! Freedom of speech is most important of all!!”
The Party for Freedom has a history of making anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim statements.
Violent backlashes were faced in the past by cartoonists who drew depictions of Mohammad. Many Muslims believe it is forbidden to draw the prophet.
Twelve people lost their lives after fundamental Islamic zealots attacked the offices of the French secularist satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo back in 2015. The publication had printed uncomplimentary cartoons of the Prophet in the said issue.
According to Reuters, the publication in a Danish newspaper of a number of cartoons depicting the prophet “led to violent protests across the Muslim world” in 2005.
Previously, the leader of the PVV, Wilders, has called for a ban on the Koran in the Netherlands, saying Islam is a totalitarian faith. Allegedly, he “has long planned to host such a competition”, but had “previously been prevented from doing so", according to Russia Today.
American cartoonist Bosch Fawstin, who won a similar contest in Garland, Texas, in May 2015, has been invited to judge the Dutch competition, which is scheduled to be held later this year.
Wilders spoke in a keynote address at a Mohammed cartoon drawing contest in Garland, Texas, where two armed attackers were killed after they opened fire on a security officer. Subsequently, Wilders aired a slideshow of the cartoons from the Texas exhibition on Dutch television, after saying that he had been disallowed from putting the cartoons on exhibition at the parliament.
Several of his critics have slammed Wilders, calling him a provocateur without scruples. Numerous social media users are already bracing for the inevitable backlash that is imminent from the said contest.