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Thursday 18 December  
Freedom party leader Geert Wilders (c) Rahmatali/Flickr
John Tyler's picture
The Hague, Netherlands
The Hague, Netherlands

Wilders wants headscarf tax

Published on : 16 September 2009 - 6:02pm | By John Tyler
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Geert Wilders has done it again. The leader of the far-right Freedom Party managed to make the Dutch headlines during the annual general political debate.

Wilders's newest proposal is to tax the Muslim headscarf. Any Muslim woman who wants to wear a headscarf - which he described as a 'head-rag' - would have to apply for a licence, and pay one thousand euros for the privilege. Wilders says the money raised would go toward women's emancipation programmes.

Alexander Pechtold from the liberal D66 Party gives his reaction:

The rest of the Dutch parliament reacted to the proposal with disbelief. One after another, they asked Mr Wilders if this was a serious proposal. For instance, would he include other types of head covering in the tax? And how about orthodox Christian women who wear a headscarf quite similar to the Muslim version?


In reaction, Mr Wilders said he would actually prefer to ban the headscarf altogether, but that appeared to be legally impossible. He would not tax the Christian form of the headscarf, but he did not say how policy would make that distinction.


Mr Wilders has acquired a reputation for making shocking statements during general debates. Two years ago, he called for the banning the Muslim holy book, the Quran. Last year, he warned that Muslims were colonising the Netherlands. Last spring, he and his entire fraction walked out at the beginning of a debate.


The government still has to defend its new budget as part of the general debates. But in an unusual move, Mr Wilders has already announced that he plans to submit another motion of no-confidence in the entire cabinet. That will be the Freedom Party's eighth motion of no-confidence.

Queen under fire
The Queen also took it on the chin during the general political debate in the Dutch parliament. One day after opening the parliamentary year with her Speech from the Throne, she was the subject of a sharp exchange on the floor of the lower house of parliament.

Geert Wilders was again the one sparkng parliamentary fireworks. He pointed out that while most of the country will see their disposable income shrink next year, the Queen and other members of the royal family, who receive a government allowance, will see an increase in their monthly cheques.

For the first time this year, government expenditure for the Royal Family have been tabulated in a separate section of the national budget. This was done in the interest of transparency. And indeed, without much effort, one quickly sees that the royals will cost the state 40.5 million euros next year, 7 million of which goes toward allowances.

Mr Wilders says the Queen should set an example.

"We are not talking about just anyone. We are talking about our dearly beloved royal highness, plus other members of the royal family. If the entire country has to pay, if the finance minister says everyone has to tighten their belts, shouldn't the members of the royal family, not the most disadvantaged people in the world, also make do with 20 percent less of their government allowance."

Populist remarks

The leader of the Christian Democrat parliamentary faction, Pieter van Geel, defended his colleagues in the cabinet.

"I feel no need to react to these kind of populist remarks, and I have nothing to add. Scoring a populist point with this is as easy as attracting bees to honey. We don't do that."

Mr van Geel might not do that. But the Freedom Party leader was joined by four other opposition parties in his call for to cut the royal family's income. A day after the Queen herself urged all Dutch people to assume their responsibility during the hard times ahead, it's a hard call to refute.



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alihadun 12 January 2010 - 9:55am / imdonesia

a very briliant and genius idee.i love it

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Sapphire 18 October 2009 - 9:28am
I really find this going to far, I myself live in the Netherlands and my mum wears a headscarf. Just because some insane people who are saying there muslims tie them selfs up with bombs and blast there selfs up in the middle of innocent people. Just because a small group of people is going crazy with bombs, suddenly all muslims are terrorist?? Yeah right. And when a little group of morrocans discriminate the netherlands people, there is a big problem, they accuse them of being racist to netherlands people. But don´t these politics see they are even being more racist to us. Look at all those country´s like Engeland, people esspecially immigrants (muslim indians,somalies,Pakistan.) Those aren´t hold back from working in a high qaulified job. but look at trouble maker Netherlands who holds young islamic women/students back from working at such a high point. Why?? Why does holland make so much trouble of something so small ??
Anonymous 26 September 2009 - 3:47pm
Citizens of Holland should be prohibited from visitng countries where women wear headscarf!!
N 25 September 2009 - 5:10pm
Why tax the women? Since many of the women are forced to wear the headscarf, tax the father or husband or brother. Seriously, Wilder makes it more difficult for those who actually would fight for the rights of Muslim women. Instead of focusing on the headscarf, focus on the burqa, the isolation of women and girls in their homes, forced marriages, educational opportunities and domestic violence. Instead of making women into the criminals, you have to see them as the victims. That being said, I do know plenty of women who are successful, confident women who wear a headscarf. The issue is always about whether a woman is being forced or not. The liberals assume that all women wear it happily. And the conservatives assume all women are forced or are terrorists. Neither liberal nor conservatives are correct. Reality is somewhere in the middle which is why the headscarf is not the place to focus. Instead, deal with the clear cut harms of domestic violence, lack of education, etc.
Anonymous 24 September 2009 - 1:20am
It's interesting that he is part of the "Freedom Party" but wants to deny peoples' freedom to wear head scarfs...
Anonymous 24 September 2009 - 1:19am
It's interesting that he is part of the "Freedom Party" but wants to deny peoples' freedom to wear head scarfs...
Muhammed 23 September 2009 - 10:19am
This is just sickening. This man is prejudiced against the Muslims for his own false reasons. I hope and pray the Dutch government will ban him from speaking in public.
Yahiya 23 September 2009 - 9:19am
"Their intention is to extinguish Allah's Light (by blowing) with their mouths: but Allah will complete (the revelation of) His Light, even though the Unbelievers may detest (it)." Quran 61:08
Cole 22 September 2009 - 5:16pm
It seems a waste of political capital to talk about a headscarf tax. Is the headscarf really the problem? The law should be larger than this !! Free speech is a bigger issue - immigration reform. I did not hear the whole speech - but it seems to be a loss of focus - on Wilder's part.
den pessach 1 December 2014 - 11:16am

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George K. 22 September 2009 - 2:31am
Anonymous 21 September 2009 - 2:37am
UN books banned in Somalia, the practice of yoga banned in Malaysia and sharia law being introduced in the Northern provinces of Indonesia allowing women to be beaten and lashed with the cane. Islam is an oppressive dictatorship and a fascist one at that. Cleverly, they hitch a ride, in the West, on the socialist notion of multiculturalism. Western parliaments should send a signal to limit what will be endured from Islamics, in order to maintain standards.
Anonymous 21 September 2009 - 2:08am
The wearing of the hijab is not just an oppression of women, it is an arrogant public statement to claim a higher level of virtue than all others. However, I have never heard a person wearing a hijab or a burqa condemn an act of murderous terror.
bugs 20 September 2009 - 11:36am
Wilders has to know this latest idea is impossible and unrealistic, therefore his only reason for coming up with it, right now, is to snatch headlines. Apparently it worked. Its just a shame that the Tweede Kamer is wasting time even discussing it or commenting on it. Cant they just say 'yeah right Meneer Wilders' and carry on as though he said nothing (which in effect he did)?. What a pity he gets more attention than actual government policy and serious issues.
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Mackie 18 September 2009 - 1:23pm
Mr Wilders, leadership is the capacity to influence others through inspiration motivated by passion, generated by vision, produced by conviction and ignited by a purpose. Mr. wilders should stop taking his supporters for granted by styling up. The best thing to do is to help him realise that he is the biggest problem the dutch people are faced with and i think he should be help out it. If i was asked to describe Mr. wilders in one sentence i would say; he is miserable and bitter with himself.
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sandra 18 September 2009 - 7:45am
Jasmin, I was shocked to read what you wrote, but it seemed the woman you were talking about had taken her study with a grain of salt. Has some silly rules lol. I would like to go to India someday though, it is a beautiful country and I love the people from India, I can talk for hours with my friends from India. Too bad that Europe has taken the wrong turn and is looking more and more like before world war 2. I am ashamed that I too had been naive when it came to Islam until I started working at a hospital and got to know coworkers that happen to be muslim and the best of friends to work with, I tell you, they take things with a grain of salt despite the hatred being spread in Europe, they know how to turn the other cheek and use humor instead of anger. I wish I could be more like that. The Netherlands has gone too far with their extreem right wing groups. Now even the Left wing is jumping on the band wagon and making untrue remarks against import brides, Muslims etc. in order to make an excuse up to restrict immigration to those coming in, and those who are already established immigrants. I am very worried about the future of the Netherlands and Europe the way the anti immigration rhetroic has spread, and the constant new law changes against family reunification and immigration integration at the drop of a hat. I agree with Hiram that at this point that Muslims and other minority groups should get out of dodge before they start getting the trains ready for deportation. America and Canada should be ready to give mass pardons to help these people soon! As a Jew, I don´t even feel safe here anymore, it is only a matter of time before they start to turn on us again. Germany is pretty open about anti semitism and neo nazism. So is Austria.
Sandra 18 September 2009 - 5:15pm
Sandra, what about the poor French Jews who are attacked regularly. The police response is they should not have been wearing their Star of David. Or Sweden, where Antisemitism has taken the name "anti-Israel". This is evidenced by the fact that the American Rabbi selling organs was immediately compared to "Israeli's" in general. I have had someone in Amsterdam and Munich tell me that Jews cause most of Europe's problems, despite the fact they comprise a minuscule percentage of the current population. I know many Muslims, and most are successful hard workers. Europe DOES have to pay attention to the extremism that is coming with some of these immigrants. Your friends working at the hospital are great examples of immigrants integrating into the culture, and contributing. The people Europe needs to worry about is the multi-generational welfare recipients that despise Western values. As I tell all European Jews who feel uneasy in this current situation, come to America. We need hospital workers desperately and 99% of Americans could care less what your religion is or where you came from. We want hard working immigrants to come here and contribute to our society. If Europe hates a group of hard working people solely because of their religion hop on the next flight over. I say the more the merrier.
Steve 18 September 2009 - 5:16pm
Sorry the last comment was from "Steve" addressed to "Sandra"
jasmin 18 September 2009 - 12:40pm
Thanks Sandra for your lovely words about India. I admire your change of heart and your guts to admit it on this forum! But only wish that the small minority of muslims who are holding the world at ransom, have the same change of heart. Individually, every person is good, things turn violent when they take the shape of groups. Being a nice co-worker isn't enough, they have to come forward and disown the black sheep and take steps to ensure their kids or brethren do not fall into this trap. We, in India are always living in fear of these jihadists as our neighbour won't sit still, though they are suffering too. Last week Pakistan launched 3-4 rockets in the border areas, destroying crops and houses, but they disowned the acts. The muslims have to act responsibly if they sincerely want respect from other people.
Abdul Okaka 17 September 2009 - 7:15pm
The PVV seems to be running out of ideas. A tax on the Islamic headscarf is ludicrous to say the least.
Gan Getsy 26 November 2014 - 12:57pm / Angola

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Anonymous 17 September 2009 - 4:11pm
Germany already has an 8% extra income tax on Christians' salary earnings. Apparently this tax is used for the maintenance of Church buildings. So, taxing hijabs and burqas is not so far fetched. Why discriminate only against Christians?
Hiram 17 September 2009 - 4:46pm
Freund, the Netherlands ist not Deutschland, nicht gerade jetzt! Given time, the Dutch will pay a religious tax on it's people. Just because one country, like Deutschland, abuses it's people, doesn't mean other countries, like the Netherlands, have to do likewise. Wilders' scheme to raise taxes on scarves was his outward expression of hate towards Islam and anyone who believes in it. Wilders is blinded by hate and I believe most non-believers of Islam understand the dangers of Islam and support his drive to halt the influx of Muslims, but taxing scarves is not the way and only promotes hate on both sides. Now, if he would have said burqas, something that conceals the entire head, he might have gotten some support. No, he went to extremes and was specific about Muslim women and their head scarves. Personnaly, if I were a Muslim, I would get out of Europe quickly because they have a very good chance of being placed on trains, cattle cars, and transported to their demise like the Jews were during WWII.
Anonymous 20 September 2009 - 3:30pm
Hiram suggested that Muslims may need to "get out of Europe quickly because they have a very good chance of being placed on trains, cattle cars, and transported to their demise like the Jews were during WWII". Actually Hiram, the past decade of acts of violence and terrorism have been perpetrated by Muslims against Western civilians, so you have the threat back-to-front! Further to the reference regarding the holocaust during WWII, it was the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem who was in Berlin with Adolf Hitler during WWII conspiring to exterminate the Jews. The threat of Islam against civilisation has been a long-suffered problem.
Hiram 20 September 2009 - 6:29pm
Anonymous, I don't disagree with your comments. You stated "The threat of Islam against civilisation has been a long-suffered problem". I, being a Knight Templar, am aware of the dangers of Islam but I don't believe in punishing people collectively for crimes. The EU and US need to take out the leaders in the world who threaten us with terrorism.
Polythene Pam 17 September 2009 - 3:22pm
There we go again... Wilders makes it very difficult for me to be proud to be Dutch: what happened to this so-called free country after a columnist such as Pim Fortuyn decided that having an opinion on everything is enough to become a politician? Wilders is nothing more than a publicity-seeking, short-sighted opportunist. I wish everybody, including the media, would just ignore him or play him down. The debate in Parliament should have been about the measures the government is taking in 2010, about its budget and tpolicy - I guess Balkenende and his team silently thank Wilders for distracting everybody's attention from what should really be talked about!
jasmin 17 September 2009 - 2:17pm
I agree with Sandra, Geerts is using these attention seeking statements to keep the issue alive. However, I have an interesting anecdote to share. I was friendly with my young hairdresser, and was a bit shocked when she told that she was leaving the city as she was getting married. (You do not get skilled hairdressers easily.) And then she added that she had to learn to read the holy Koran! I was stunned, "Are you a muslim?" "Yes, auntie!" was her cool reply. It took me a few seconds to get over the shock because, I thought she was a Hindu! It is mandatory for girls to know holy Koran before marriage, she told.Then, I asked, what we all are curious about. Why is it that muslims do not integrate and are so orthodox? She smiled and said that her family was very liberal and they lived in a Hindu neighbourhood, but that her relatives are fanatics and anti-hindu and pro-pakistan, even when staying in India! I asked for reasons. She had no answer but that, that was how they were brought up, even when living in India!

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