Geert Wilders, a ring-wing and anti-Islam Dutch politician, was found guilty of incitement to discrimination against Moroccans last week, but his xenophobic Party for Freedom (PVV) has been gaining so much support that it is the strongest party in the multi-party country, according to a new poll by the Maurice de Hond Institute. The PVV is likely to win many more seats in the Dutch parliament in elections on March 15.
“I will never be silent. You will not be able to stop me,” Wilders said in an English-language video messages posted on his Twitter account after the verdict. A panel of three judges convicted him on December 9 for asking an audience in 2014 whether they wanted “more or fewer Moroccans” in the Netherlands. When the crowd shouted back “fewer” he said, “Well, we’ll take care of that.”
This is the first time a court has convicted Wilders for his speech, but it is not the first attempt. Prosecutors have received thousands of formal complaints for his remarks about Muslims and immigrants, considered indicting him in 2008 and prosecuted him in 2011. Both times his statements were found to have contributed to public debate about the role of Islam in Dutch society. And in 2009, British Home Secretary Jacqui Smith barred Wilders from entering the United Kingdom for his statements about Muslims, but the ban was later overturned.