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Saturday 20 December  
Chris Aalberts' book 'Behind the PVV'
Michel Hoebink's picture
The Hague, Netherlands
The Hague, Netherlands

Wilders' supporters don't really care about headscarves

Published on : 17 August 2012 - 1:54pm | By Michel Hoebink ((C) PVV)
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Many of those who vote for Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party would be horrified if its extreme anti-Islam policies were actually put into effect. They support him because he’s a wake-up call to other Dutch politicians, according to political researcher Chris Aalberts of Rotterdam’s Erasmus University.

Ban the Qur’an, slap a tax on headscarves: Geert Wilders has managed to stir up plenty of controversy in the Netherlands in the past few years with his radical ideas about Islam. But most of his supporters don’t actually take his more extreme proposals seriously, according to Aalberts. “There’s only a tiny group of fanatics who want these ideas put into effect. Most Freedom Party (PVV) supporters don't actually agree with them, but see them as a clever tactic to get certain issues on the political agenda.

Smart and frustrated
In the run-up to next month’s parliamentary elections, the Freedom Party is doing less well in the polls than a couple of years ago, but it’s still attracting a sizeable chunk of the vote. Reason enough for lecturer and researcher Chris Aalberts to try and find out what motivates Wilders’ supporters. He conducted in-depth interviews with 87 PVV voters for his book Achter de PVV (Behind the PVV) and came to the conclusion that they’re smarter than many people would like to believe.

These are frustrated voters, says Aalberts, because they feel the traditional parties are not dealing with the issues they’re concerned about, such as immigration. Wilders is the only one talking about this. And they view his radicalism as a way of forcing the other parties to talk about it. “The aim is not that Wilders becomes Prime Minster and puts all his policies into effect. The aim is to get the parties to the right of the political spectrum to all move in the PVV’s direction: more critical of Islam, of integration and now of Europe”.  And that aim is being achieved, he says: “it’s very clear that the climate of public and political opinion has shifted”.

Tactical exception
Aalbert’s research also shows that this more moderate faction mostly keeps quiet about its support for Wilders.  A consequence, he says of the stigma attached to the Freedom Party. “PVV voters are seen as being badly-educated racists. These people don’t want to be seen that way.” Ironically enough, many of those interviewed judged other PVV voters as dumb and saw themselves as an exception, voting for Wilders for tactical reasons.

According to Aalberts, it’s only a small minority of Wilders’ supporters who see Islam as being a serious threat. Mostly they’re concerned about the more humdrum irritations of daily life: groups of youngsters from immigrant backgrounds hanging around shopping malls causing a nuisance; hearing foreign languages on the street and not being able to understand what’s being said; the suspicion that ‘foreigners’ are given preferential treatment by council housing departments. “If politicians paid more attention to these sorts of issues we’d hear a lot less complaining about a multi-cultural society. Give those youngsters somewhere to go!”

‘Geert’s hobby’
So why does the Freedom Party continue to hammer away at the anti-Islam argument if that’s not what really motivates its supporters? The answer’s simple according to Aalberts: “Because Geert Wilders IS the PVV and he personally considers the topic extremely important. Plenty of people in the party don’t really agree and refer to ‘Geert’s hobby’."

Anti-EU policies have taken the starring role in the Freedom Party’s programme for the coming elections. But there’s still plenty of attention for Islam and immigration – and in particular the way regulations laid down by Brussels stop the Netherlands from tackling unwanted ‘foreign’ influences.


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LatinAmerican -Dutch 28 August 2012 - 5:39pm / Latin-American Continent

I am half Latin American and Half Dutch. I can’t believe we are so hated in the Netherlands! Like we are half monsters, you consider us “Non Westerns”. Then please if you are a “pure” Dutch don’t come to Latin America. We don’t want you here if you cannot tolerate non Germanic blonde blue eyed people! We certainly don’t want you here, go to trade in Asia! Go to sell your stuff in another continent. We don’t want to trade or share our resources with racist and xenophobic people like you. Even take Shell and all your companies out of here. It’s a shame this happens in the 21 century. Shame on you!.

Anonymous 21 August 2012 - 2:49am

Please read the Koran carefully and learn about their idea in the future about conquering the world under Islam and you, the usefull idiot in Netherland and Europe that still believing Islam is a religion of peace will realise what they are??? Every bombing of churches and shopping malls and Hotels in Indonesia then the moslem will say Allahu Akbar...There is no tolerance in Islam.

Anonymous 20 August 2012 - 2:21pm / lalaland

Are we forgetting that now in Europe the most common first name is Mohammed?This is a significant development and an indication of the transformations taking place.Wilders cannot stop them, nor a reincarnated Hitler!

Anonymous 19 August 2012 - 10:28pm

I absolutely agree with Geert Wilder and I don't believe the twisted results of this study. European polls showed a rising anti-islam sentiment all across the continent and this is a great thing. Our ancestors fought against the islamisation of Europe in countless wars; in Spain, France, Italy, southeastern Europe after Europeans were enslaved by muslims, their Churches and holy shrines were destroyed and countless were oppressed and forced to pay a very heavy tax for non-believers, forcing them to convert to islam. Ppliticians such as Churchill and Marx all called islam what it is: a backward, hateful, fascist ideology. The only ones who were in favor of islam back then were in fact the Nazis who couldn't praise the Mohammedans enough for their savagery and anti-semitism. Even great European philosophers were against the islamic ideology. But today, all the politicians, leftist media and academics lie you in the face, saying islam is not evil, even though people are oppressed, killed, abused and raped in the name of islam every single day and muslims are trying to implement sharia zones in Euorpe: UK, Sweden, Norway, Denmark etc.
Some idiots and leftwing extremists will call me the usual names: bigot, islamophobe etc, not giving a rats azz about all the innocents killed by muslims, anti-semitism, homophobia, killing of apostates etc; as long as they can live in their little fantasy world believing islam is no threat-a world that will implode very soon. The ignorant comments on this page are evidence enough.
I see a new world war coming in the next 20 years, starting once again in Europe with a civil war started by muslims. Mark my words.

Joost van der Heijden 20 August 2012 - 9:58am

Your view on history and the world in general is very twisted indeed. You need to get out more and stop blaming your own problems on the world at large and Muslims in particular. When Islam took over europe centuries ago there was never before a more tolerant and respectful leadrship of all religions and coexistence was at its greatest, allowing science to flourish. Architecture, mathematics, navigational techniques and irrigation, just a few examples to throw at you.

Furthermore, Anti-semitism refers to the semitic people, those who spoke arabic, hebrew and aramaic from the palestine region in the middle east, and correct me if i'm wrong but the moors themselves must therefore be they either hated themselves or you are seriously mistaken. I think the latter.

user avatar
knirb 20 April 2013 - 10:16am

Joost, I think you are the one who is seriously mistaken:
1 - Islam did not take over Europe. It tried to but only succeeded in taking over it's fringes after violently wiping out much of the Christian world outside Europe.
2 - Islam's tolerance of other religions is a “myth” (more like a boldfaced lie). Islamic texts are rife with overt hatred and disrespect for all that is not Islam. Resistance to hostile Islamic takeovers was often labeled “persecution of Islam” and was used to further justify Islamic aggression during its expansion.
3 – Through conquests, Islam did acquire Greek, Hindu, and other pre-Islamic knowledge and transmitted this to Westerners. Out of this another myth (lie), the Islamic “Golden Age” was born.
4 - You might have checked a dictionary or other reference before criticizing the usage of “anti-Semite”. It was coined in 19th century Europe, refers to “hater of Jews”, and did not include other Semites. This is still a widely understood term, even though not strictly accurate.

Anonymous 18 August 2012 - 12:06pm

Some of Geert Wilders ancestors are Indonesian. Perhaps he just has self-hate issues which he needs to work through? Dying his hair blonde to make himself appear more stereotypically "Dutch" is one obvious symptom.

Anonymous 17 August 2012 - 3:42pm / United States

Why do we still call it 'anti-Islam'? This is not a theological debate about the philosophical foundations of a religion, it is about muslims living in the Netherlands only. Radio Netherlands should not be part of whitewashing 'anti-muslim', and by extension, 'anti-immigrant' sentiment into something pseudo-philosophical.

Anonymous 17 August 2012 - 8:39pm

calling mosque´s hate palaces sounds pretty anti islam to me. Calling a religion reatarded (achterlijk) pretty much sums it up (nothing to do with NL). Why do voters support PVV? because they are morons, unaware of Mr. Wilders´ (also an allochtoon) true intentions.

Anonymous 19 August 2012 - 10:34pm

True intentions? Can you tell me what the true intentions of muslims in the Netherlands are? The last time I checked, gays and Jews had to fear for their lives, sharia courts are being established, girls are being forced to marry their cousins etc.
What is the true intentions of them? Enforcing islamic law in the Netherlands? I believe the only moron here is you. Big time. How come you don't even question the muslim's motives? Do you live in some socialist fantasy world and believe multiculturalism is good as far as islam is concerned? Tell me just one thing that is positive about muslim immigration. Instead of blasting Mr. Wilders who seems to be way more intelligent than you, you should probably goo read a book and educate yourself.

Anonymous 20 August 2012 - 12:57am

I should do what? Goo read? lol, typical PVV fanboy. Learn how to spell, then point the finger.

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