Netherlands: Islam should be respected, says.. Wilders
The Dutch PVV party is poised to become one of the largest parties in the next parliamentary elections, leading at least one Dutch politician to call for a 'government boycott' of the party, as is the case with Vlaams Belang in Belgium.
The Dutch Dagelijkse Standaard blog dug up the following quote from Geert Wilders, when he appeared on the Barend en Van Dorp show on September 24th, 2001, just after the 9/11 attacks.
Politicians, just like anybody else, can change their minds. I think the more important point is that in 2001 Wilders claimed that if you attack Islam, you are also attacking Muslims, while today Wilders claims, particularly in his court case, that one doesn't necessarily imply the other.
The video is available on YouTube (in Dutch):
"I've made it clear from the beginning that I.. that the VVD has nothing against Islam. It's not about a religion. Contrary to Pim Fortuyn who calls for a crusade, or whatever it is, a cold war against Islam, which is a reprehensible comment, because it lumps all Muslims together, I've said from the beginning: there's nothing wrong with Islam, it's a religion which should be respected. Also most Muslims in the world, but also in the Netherlands, are good citizens and there's nothing wrong with them. It's about that small bit of Muslim extremism. (...) I don't target Islam because it's Islam, on the contrary, I have nothing against Islam. But the fact is that there's extremism in the world, and that nine times out of ten, it's Islam."
Wilders has seen the clip and said in reply that nine years ago he was under the yoke of VVD leaders Van Aartsen and Dijkstal, and that there was a reason he left the VVD. Wilders left the VVD in 2004 and in 2006 established his own party, the PVV. He has since called Islam a 'reprehensible ideology'.
In response Hans Dijkstal says that Wilders was always free to voice his opinion.
Sources: Dagelijkse Standaard, ND (Dutch)