Geert Wilders “Damages Netherlands’ Reputation” in UK speech

Geert Wilders, leader of the anti-immigration Freedom Party (PVV), has featured prominently in Dutch news coverage this week.
With the success of the Freedom (PVV) Party in the Hague during last week’s local elections, Wilders announced that he will take a seat on the city council. Earlier Wilders had stated that if the party won local elections he would not take up a seat on the council.
During a trip to London on March 7, Wilders screened his controversial film Fitna. He also announced that a follow up movie, Fitna II, will not be released before the parliamentary elections in June 2010. Following the screening, Wilders delivered a provocative speech in which he called upon Britain to stop accepting immigrants from Muslim nations. The conference was countered with protests.
Responding to his provocative comments, Dutch foreign minister Maxime Verhagen has accused Wilders of damaging the Netherlands’ reputation abroad by spreading hatred and fear, Dutch News reports. Verhagen referred to Wilders’ press conference, saying “being free to give offence does not mean that it is wise to give offence… Everyone has the responsibility to show respect for the rights and reputations of others…”.

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