Dutch police arrest man said plotting to kill Geert Wilders over Muhammad images
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Dutch police arrest man said plotting to kill Geert Wilders over Muhammad images

Suspect detained at Hague main railway station after firebrand politician announces Muslim prophet cartoon competition

Geert Wilders of the Freedom Party (PVV) speaks during a televised debate between the eight top party leaders in The Hague on March 14, 2017, a day before the parliamentary elections. (AFP PHOTO / POOL / Phil Nijhuis)
Geert Wilders of the Freedom Party (PVV) speaks during a televised debate between the eight top party leaders in The Hague on March 14, 2017, a day before the parliamentary elections. (AFP PHOTO / POOL / Phil Nijhuis)

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Dutch police on Tuesday arrested a man suspected of planning an attack against far-right politician Geert Wilders after he said he intended to hold a Prophet Muhammad cartoon competition.

Police said in a statement they arrested the still unidentified suspect at the main railway station in The Hague.

He was being questioned and was expected to appear before a judge on Friday, the statement said.

Police said they had been alerted by a video on Facebook in which the 26-year-old man talked about attacking anti-Islam MP Wilders, as well as the Dutch parliament.

Wilders, who announced plans for a competition of Muhammad cartoons earlier this year, said he had been told about the plot by the Netherlands’ counter-terrorism police, NCTb.

“I was told by NCTb this morning that a man on Facebook had said that he had arrived in the Netherlands for the purpose of killing me,” Wilders said via his Twitter account.

Iranians take part in a protest against the printing of satirical sketches of the Prophet Muhammad by French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo on January 19, 2015 outside the French embassy in Tehran. (photo credit: Atta Kenare/AFP)

“Fortunately, he has been arrested. It is madness that this is happening because of a drawing contest and that it is raining death threats.”

In June, Wilders tweeted that he had received clearance to hold the competition in his party’s parliamentary offices.

The contest is to be judged by American cartoonist and self-defined “recovered Muslim” Bosch Fawstin, who won a similar contest in the US in 2015. Two armed men opened fire on a security officer outside that competition, and were subsequently killed.

The head of the Netherlands’ Party for Freedom or PVV, Wilders is known for his virulent anti-Islam statements.

Last week, Pakistan expressed objections to what it described as the “blasphemous” cartoon competition and summoned a high-ranking Dutch diplomat in Islamabad to protest.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the free-market VVD party speaks to his supporters after exit poll results of the parliamentary elections were announced in The Hague, Netherlands, Wednesday, March 15, 2017. (Patrick Post/AP)

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte also described the competition as “disrespectful” and “provocative,” even though he defended the principle of freedom of expression.

Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok also insisted that the competition was not a government initiative.

Images of Muhammad — prohibited according to Muslim belief — have in the past been met by death threats and murder.

Two French terrorists who had sworn allegiance to al-Qaeda killed 12 people at satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo’s offices in 2015 with the terrorists notably seeking to punish the staunchly atheist magazine for printing cartoons of the prophet.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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