An anti-Islam lawmaker in the Netherlands is forming an international alliance to spread his message across the West in a bid to ban immigration from Islamic countries, among other goals.
Geert Wilders told The Associated Press in an interview Thursday he will launch the movement late this year, initially in five countries: the U.S., Canada, Britain, France and Germany.
This article was prepared by the Islam in Europe blog - islamineurope.blogspot.com
"The message, 'stop Islam, defend freedom,' is a message that's not only important for the Netherlands but for the whole free Western world," Wilders said at the Dutch parliament.
Among the group's aims will be outlawing immigration from Islamic countries to the West and a ban on Islamic Sharia law. Starting as a grass-roots movement, he hopes it eventually will produce its own lawmakers or influence other legislators.
Ayhan Tonca, a prominent spokesman for Dutch Muslims, said he feared Wilders message would fall on fertile ground in much of Europe, where anti-Islam sentiment has been swelling for years.
"So long as things are going badly with the economy, a lot of people always need a scapegoat," Tonca said. "At the moment, that is the Muslims in Western Europe."
Tonca called on "well meaning people in Europe to oppose this."