Islamophobe Dutch MP cancels offensive cartoon contest

Geert Wilders has a history of inflammatory stunts against Islam. (AFP)
Updated 31 August 2018

Islamophobe Dutch MP cancels offensive cartoon contest

  • Plans by Wilders to hold a cartoon competition at his party's offices in parliament have stirred anger among Muslims, particularly in Pakistan
  • Man arrested on suspicion of trying to kill Wilders appears in Dutch court

AMSTERDAM: The Islamophobic Dutch politician Geert Wilders said on Thursday he was canceling plans to hold a highly inflammatory contest for cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad.

The MP said he would never personally stop his campaign against Islam but the risk to innocents, and of attacks on the Netherlands, stemming from the proposed contest were too great, Reuters reported.

Earlier this week, Dutch police arrested a 26-year-old man suspected of threatening to attack Wilders over his plan.

On Thursday, the suspect briefly appeared in a Dutch court. He "is being suspected of committing a terrorist act, planning to commit murder and incitement," Dutch prosecutors said in a statement.

Police arrested the man at one of The Hague's main railway stations after he posted a film on YouTube saying he planned an attack on Wilders or the Dutch parliament.

The man, believed to be from Pakistan, also called on other Muslims for support.

"Authorities are taking the threat very seriously," the Dutch public prosecution service said in the statement.

"The investigation is ongoing" and the man is in custody "with maximum restrictions" meaning that he is only allowed to consult his lawyer.

Prosecutors did not release the suspect's name, saying at this stage they were reluctant to release further information.

He will remain in custody for another two weeks before a next appearance.

Plans by Wilders, an avowed anti-Islamist, to hold a cartoon competition at his PVV party's offices in parliament have stirred anger among Muslims, particularly in Pakistan.

The Netherlands on Wednesday updated its travel advice to Pakistan urging its citizens "to avoid demonstrations in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi."

"Stay alert and keep a low profile," the travel advice added.

A planned trade mission organized by the Dutch government and private companies in early November has also been postponed "until a later date," the government-run Netherlands Enterprise Agency said in a separate statement.

Wilders in June announced plans to stage a cartoon competition in parliament later this year to draw the Prophet Mohammed. He claims he has received 200 entries so far.

The Dutch competition's winner is set to receive a cash prize, Wilders said adding that the competition is not to "provoke or insult."

"We are organizing the competition because the freedom of speech is the most important freedom we have," he said.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte however has distanced his government from the cartoon competition, saying it was not a government initiative.

Rutte last week said he supported free speech in the Netherlands but believed the cartoon competition "not respectful" and aimed only to provoke.

"The aim is to provoke, rather than stimulate a debate about Islam," Rutte said – but he added Wilders was free to air his opinions.

Meanwhile, in Pakistan thousands of people demonstrated against the contest, in a march organized by the Tehreek-e-Labbaik party, which also called on Pakistan and other countries to sever all ties with the Netherlands.

Images of Prophet Muhammad are forbidden in Islam as idolatrous and caricatures are regarded by most Muslims as highly offensive.

In 2005, Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published cartoons of Prophet Muhammad that sparked a wave of protest across the Muslim world that led to scores of deaths.


Pakistan PM Khan slams ‘oppressor’ India on Kashmir anniversary

Updated 05 August 2020

Pakistan PM Khan slams ‘oppressor’ India on Kashmir anniversary

  • Solidarity marches were held in all major Pakistani cities to mark the anniversary of New Delhi stripping Muslim-majority Indian Kashmir of its semi-autonomous status
  • Kashmir, a disputed Himalayan territory, has been split since 1947 between India and Pakistan, both of which claim it in full and have fought wars over it

MUZAFFARABAD, Pakistan: Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan branded India an “oppressor and aggressor” on Wednesday, a year after New Delhi imposed direct rule on Indian-administered Kashmir.
Solidarity marches were held in all major Pakistani cities to mark the anniversary of New Delhi stripping Muslim-majority Indian Kashmir of its semi-autonomous status, a move that outraged Islamabad.
Kashmir, a disputed Himalayan territory, has been split since 1947 between India and Pakistan, both of which claim it in full and have fought wars over it.
“India stands exposed before the world, yet again, as an oppressor and aggressor,” Khan said in a statement.
“Its so-called secular and democratic credentials stand fully discredited,” he added, calling India’s action last year a “crime against humanity.”
Khan led a march through Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-administered-Kashmir, before addressing the region’s legislative assembly.
Across the city, more than 2,000 people turned out at a series of anti-India protests.
“We ask the world to give Kashmiris their right of self-determination, otherwise we will cross the Line of Control and help our brothers on the other side with arms,,” Arslan Ahmad, a refugee who fled Indian-administered Kashmir, told AFP.
“Half of my family is under siege in Indian-occupied Kashmir, my mother is dying to meet her sister, this dispute has left our generations torn apart,” 31-year old Usman Mir added.
Police were enforcing tight restrictions in Indian-administered Kashmir on Wednesday, where religious and political groups had called on residents to observe a “black day.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government had promised the move would bring peace and prosperity to Indian Kashmir after three decades of violence sparked by an anti-India uprising.
Pakistan, however, has alleged it is a violation of the rights of Kashmiri people.
Khan accused India of trying to turn Kashmir’s Muslim majority into a minority by ending restrictions on outsiders buying up property “in blatant violation of... UN Security Council Resolutions and international laws.”
The change in rules has sparked fears that the Modi government is pursuing an Israel-style “settler” project.
A referendum in Kashmir mandated by a UN resolution in 1948 has never taken place.
“India has learned from Israel how to change the demography (of Kashmir),” President Arif Alvi told a rally in the Pakistani capital Islamabad, which observed a one-minute silence.
Hundreds of billboards and banners displayed graphic images purportedly of human rights violations by Indian authorities in Kashmir.
On Tuesday, Pakistan released a new official map showing all of Kashmir as its territory.
The Pakistan military, meanwhile, said Indian troops had fired a shell across the de-facto border, killing a young woman and wounding six other people.
Such exchanges are common along the Kashmir demarcation line, with shells blasted in both directions.