Anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders airs cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad on Dutch television as part of public broadcast time allocated to political parties to generate publicity.
(DUTCH FREEDOM PARTY) – Anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders on Wednesday (June 24) aired cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad on Dutch television that were drawn at a cartoon competition in Texas that was attacked by two gunmen in May.
Wilders used public broadcast time allocated to political parties to generate publicity.
“A few weeks ago, I was in Garland, Texas, at a conference and an exhibition of Mohammad cartoons. Shortly after I had spoken, terrorists attacked the venue. Islam and the terrorists do not want us to show these cartoons. But terror and violence may never defeat freedom of speech. That is exactly the reason why we should do what the terrorists want to prevent us to do. I asked the board of the Dutch parliament if I could show the cartoons in their building. They refused. And yet, it is very important that we show them. That is the only way to assure that the terrorists do not defeat freedom of speech. This is why I show them to you today,” Wilders said on the video.
The timing of the airing was seen as particularly insulting for Muslims, who are celebrating the holy month of Ramadan.
Aissa Zanzen, spokesman for the Council of Moroccan Mosques in the Netherlands, called the airing a publicity stunt.
“Wilders is out to provoke Muslims and he has done everything he can to do that. He began by making a film and he didn’t succeed in provoking people, and now he wants to show the cartoons and Muslims will not react to that,” he said.
Wilders and Pamela Geller, one of his American sponsors who organised the Mohammad cartoon drawing competition, were at the event where the shooting took place. Neither of them were hurt.
Roommates Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi of Phoenix were killed by Garland police after they opened fire with assault rifles outside the cartoon drawing event in Garland.
Wilders, a leading Dutch politician, is due to stand trial this year for alleged discrimination after making anti Moroccan comments during election campaigning last year.