Far-right Dutch MP to hold Muhammad cartoon competition
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Drawing fire

Far-right Dutch MP to hold Muhammad cartoon competition

Anti-Muslim leader Wilders gains approval from counter-terrorism agency to display controversial images of prophet in parliament offices

Dutch far-right politician Geert Wilders of the PVV party speaks to his supporters during a PVV demonstration against the policy of Prime Minister and his cabinet in Rotterdam,  on January 20, 2018. (AFP/ANP/Robin Utrecht)
Dutch far-right politician Geert Wilders of the PVV party speaks to his supporters during a PVV demonstration against the policy of Prime Minister and his cabinet in Rotterdam, on January 20, 2018. (AFP/ANP/Robin Utrecht)

Firebrand Dutch politician Geert Wilders announced Tuesday that his party will hold a controversial competition for cartoons depicting Islam’s prophet Muhammad, images of whom may not be drawn according to Islamic belief.

Wilders tweeted that he had received clearance from the Dutch counterterrorism agency to hold the competition in his party’s parliamentary offices. The contest is to be judged by American cartoonist and former Muslim Bosch Fawstin, who won a similar contest in the US in 2015.

Images of Muhammad 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.

The attack was the first in a wave of terror attacks in France over the past three years that have left more than 240 people dead.

In his tweet Wilders stressed: “Freedom of speech is most important of all!!”

Fawstin explained why he felt it was important to hold the competition.

He also tweeted that the competition was important because “without free speech, civilization is over.”

In April Wilders said his Party for Freedom (PVV) was working on a bill to go before the Dutch parliament to pass “legislation to outlaw as much Islam as possible.”

In 2016 he vowed to close mosques and “ban the Quran” in his party’s manifesto.

In March, ahead of this year’s local polls, he tweeted a message saying in Dutch and English “Islam is deadly” in big red letters, apparently dripping in blood.

PVV is the second-largest party in the Dutch House of Representatives.

Wilders is currently appealing a conviction for discrimination stemming from a 2014 rally when he asked supporters whether they wanted “fewer or more Moroccans in your city and in the Netherlands.”

When the crowd shouted back “Fewer! Fewer!” a smiling Wilders answered: “We’re going to organize that.”

AFP contributed to this report.

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