Police Arrest Man over Death Threats Against Dutch Populist Leader and Fierce Islam Critic Geert Wilders

Police in Amsterdam arrested a man on Sunday for allegedly threatening to kill populist leader Geert Wilders, who has spent over a decade under police protection and is one of the most targeted politicians in the Netherlands.

Geert Wilders, who pulled off a “mega victory” in the Dutch general election in November, thanked Amsterdam police for their swift action in responding to the latest threat against his life, De Telegraaf reports.

The populist firebrand and strident campaigner against the Islamisation of Europe and mass migration wrote on social media following the arrest: “Many thanks to the Amsterdam police unit who arrested a person in a home this weekend because of a threat to kill me… Without the police, I would be an outlaw.”

Wilders has long been subjected to death threats, mostly in response to his blunt criticism of the Islamic religion and its teachings, and has received police protection for many years, and has been forced to hire 24-hour security and resides in a safe house for his protection. The Party for Freedom (PVV) leader has claimed that he receives multiple threats daily, sometimes as many as hundreds per day.

Following the release of his 2008 short film Fitna, which argued against the theology of the Qur’an and claimed the Islamic holy text was responsible for inspiring terrorism, antisemitism, violence against women, and the persecution of homosexuals and infidels, extremist leaders tied to Al-Qaeda issued fatwas (death warrants) on Wilders’ head.

According to the latest figures from the Threatened Politicians Team at The Hague, there were 1,125 death threats made against politicians in 2022, with at least half of those being directed towards Wilders.

Just last September, a prominent Pakistani international cricket player Khalid Latif was sentenced to 12 years in prison over his offering of a $23,000 bounty for anyone who killed the politician over his views on Islam. However, as Latif is believed to reside in Pakistan, the Dutch court ruling will likely never come into force, given that there is no extradition treaty between the two countries.

The latest incident comes as Wilders is continuing to try to form a government, following last November’s elections, which saw his Party for Freedom given a resounding victory, receiving 24 per cent of the vote or 37 seats in the Dutch House of Representatives, an increase of 20 seats from the prior election.

Despite meeting with intransigence from the supposedly conservative establishment figures in trying to form a coalition to govern the country, Wilders’ party has continued to rise in the polls. An Ipsos poll conducted at the end of February put the PVV’s support at 31.1 per cent, making the populist party by far the most popular in the country, with the next most popular — the coalition between the Greens and the Dutch Labour Party (PvdA) of EU Green deal architect Frans Timmermans — only managing to muster around 16 per cent support.

Nevertheless, leaders of supposed centre-right parties such as Pieter Omtzigt, the head of the new neo-liberal New Social Contract, have so far refused to enter into government with Wilders over his previous calls to ban the Qur’an among others, meaning that the Dutch people may be called upon again for yet another election.

Speaking earlier this month, Wilders called on his potential coalition partners to show courage and step up to form a government he said — and polls show — the public wants to see formed. He said: “It is necessary for parties to jump over their shadows… The alternative is not something that makes me very happy. I also think that the Netherlands wants it to succeed.”

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