The current Dutch government’s alliance with Geert Wilders and the PVV has not all been smooth sailing, at least not for the two parties that make up the governing coalition. Mr. Wilders’ statements about Mohammed have now landed the government in hot water with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Here’s the story from De Telegraaf, as translated by our Dutch correspondent H. Numan. The article is followed by the translator’s commentary:
Trouble with the Saudis Because of Wilders
The Hague — The Dutch ambassador in Riyadh had to clarify for the Saudi authorities statements made by PVV leader Geert Wilders. This is reported by sources in The Hague. The Saudis are furious about the statements he made concerning the prophet Mohammed.
The politician wrote at the end of March in an article that the prophet Mohammed suffered from a ‘brain tumor’ which would give him delusions. Wilders wanted to start a debate about the true nature of the prophet and ‘unmask’ him at the same time.
That infuriated the Saudis, who demanded clarification from the Dutch government, as now seems evident. Ambassador Ron Strikker spoke about the affair with authorities in Riyadh. The [Dutch] Foreign Office wanted to avoid publicizing the affair.
Yesterday minister Verhagen (Economic Affairs) visited the Islamic kingdom. Amongst others, he spoke with his colleague Al-Naimi, who as minister controls the vast quantities of Saudi oil. The Wilders affair was not addresses, emphasized a spokesman.
The chill in relationships was removed after the soothing words of Strikker, but other sources said serious attention was given anyway, as the Saudis likely would address the affair once more.
Wilders hoped his words about the prophet Mohammed would have the effect of increasing apostasy amongst the Muslims worldwide.
At the same time the statements forced minister Rosenthal (Foreign Office) to explain to foreign authorities the government’s political cooperation with the PVV.
Commentary b. H. Numan:
The ambassador should only have asked two questions, rather than crawl around like a dhimmi:
1. “What exactly do you not understand about an independent parliamentarian, not a member of the government, expressing his own opinion, in an independent country where expressing an opinion is a basic right?” 2. “Kindly explain to me how it is possible that a government that allows the death sentence for witchcraft, marriages between octogenarians and infants under ten, and forces little girls to be burned alive in school for want of a correct dress has the gumption to interfere in the affairs of other nations?”
Also observe that the only thing missing is the (PBUH) after Mo.
The penultimate paragraph is not correct. I don’t recall Wilders ever making such a statement. He is much to clever to do that.