While the majority of people in the world do not know anything about Dutch politicians, parties or general politics, the recent election pitting far-right politician Geert Wilders, running on an anti-immigration ticket, against incumbent Prime Minister Mark Rutte, immediately stirred the interest of the entire world.
It was no secret that racists were expected to win the election, but they were defeated.
In the Arab world, a video of Wilders provokingly attacking Turks and Muslims in general went viral on social media and was watched by more Arabs than the 17 million people who make up the population of The Netherlands.
Translated into Arabic, the video shows Wilders saying that the Dutch do not want Turks or other Muslims in the country. He also voiced more extreme views, including banning the Qur’an and mosques in the country.
Many held their breath on election night awaiting the results which in the past only mattered to the Dutch.
The reason was that a Wilders’ win would have threatened to relaunch fascism in Europe through the ballot box.
While his racist, extremist party, known as the Freedom party, used all its xenophobic propaganda to convince the Dutch to vote for its anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant agenda, the majority voted against it, giving the extremist only 13 percent of the vote.
The fast-growing fascism focused on frightening Westerners, including the Dutch, about the influx of refugees. This is done by exaggerating the number of immigrants as well as by making up or exaggerating the number of acts committed by only a few Muslims.
Racists in the West never mention the fact that the majority of Muslims are productive and peaceful, and Muslim extremists never mention the fact that The Netherlands is one of the most forgiving and embracing countries. It encourages coexistence and offers assurances to its Muslim citizens and immigrants.
The growing extreme right-wing and racism in the West lack an economic or service underpinning, but is a scam to spread fear of Muslims and immigrants among the population by saying that these groups are taking over their countries and churches while recruiting for jihad.
Racists have used Muslims extremists’ messages and videos to frighten people in Western countries.
Muslim extremists also showed videos of racist Wilders to spread hatred and incitement against the West.
Usually, only a part of the truth is in the speeches of hatred and incitement.
Racists never mention the fact that the majority of Muslims are productive and peaceful.
On the other hand, Muslim extremists do not mention the fact that The Netherlands is one of the most forgiving and embracing countries. It encourages coexistence and offers assurances to its Muslim citizens and immigrants which allow them to perform their religious rituals and follow their social customs.
It is safe to say that the world is facing a wave of extremists who help each other, but we should not fall for their plans and ideologies, but rather follow our own civic projects that are based on coexistence.
• Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is a veteran columnist. He is the former general manager of Al Arabiya News Channel, and former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, where this article was originally published.