(CNSNews.com) – A Dutch lawmaker once put on trial for his views on Islam called Thursday for Dutch Muslims supportive of groups like the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS/ISIL) to leave the country and never be allowed to return.
“Anyone who expresses support for terror as a means to overthrow our constitutional democracy, as far as I’m concerned, should leave the country at once,” Party for Freedom (PVV) leader Geert Wilders told parliament in The Hague. “If you are waving an ISIS flag, you are waving an exit ticket. Leave!”
On Monday British Prime Minister David Cameron proposed measures to prevent British Muslims from leaving the country to join ISIS or other terrorist groups fighting in Syria and Iraq.
But Wilders said aspiring jihadists should not be stopped from leaving.
“Let them leave, with as many friends and family members as possible. I will go to Schiphol [airport in Amsterdam] to wave them goodbye, if that helps. But don’t let them ever come back – that is the condition. Good riddance.”
“Deprive all jihadists of their passports – even if they only have a Dutch passport,” he said. “Let them take an ISIS passport.”
Thousands of European passport-holders are believed to be among an estimated 12,000 foreigners from dozens of countries, including the U.S., fighting with ISIS or other jihadist groups in Syria. The “foreign fighter” question has caused such concern that President Obama is hosting a U.N. Security Council session on the issue later this month.
In a parliamentary speech marking a decade since he left the ruling party to form the PVV, Wilders said he has been harshly criticized over those ten years for sounding the alarm about Islam, but suggested that the current rise of ISIS and its brutal behavior vindicated those warnings.
He said he had been vilified, and prosecuted, for a 2008 documentary, entitled Fitna (Arabic for “strife”), which interspersed passages from the Qur’an with footage of terror attacks, along with clips of Muslim clerics endorsing violence.
“While not so many years ago, everyone refused to broadcast my film, Fitna, we can today watch Fitna 2, 3, 4 and 5 daily on our television screens,” he said. “It is not a clash of civilizations that is going on, but a clash between barbarism and civilization.”
While the Dutch cabinet argued that jihadists were a small and insignificant group, the reality was very different, he said, citing an opinion poll that found 73 percent of Dutch respondents of Moroccan and Turkish origin regarded those who go to fight in Syria as “heroes.” (The May 2013 poll referred to Muslims going to fight in the civil war, not going specifically to join jihadist groups.)
‘Handbook for terrorists’
Wilders’ core message Thursday – as it has been for years – was the one that has been most controversial: That the problem lies in the ideology of Islam itself, that Muslims committing violence in the name of their religion were simply emulating their prophet, and obeying the Qur’an.
After reading three verses from the Qur’an – including one (47:4) which jihadists point to in justifying beheading “unbelievers” – he described the Qur’an as “a handbook for terrorists” and “the hunting permit for millions of Muslims.”
“That book is the constitution of the Islamic State,” he said. “What ISIS does is what Allah commands.”
Muslims believe the Qur’an to be the infallible “final revelation” of Allah to Mohammed.
Also in 2009, an appeals court in Amsterdam instructed prosecutors to indict Wilders for “inciting hatred and discrimination,” charges relating both to the film and to public comments about Islam. He was acquitted in 2011.
As much as Wilders’ views have stoked controversy, they also resonate with many Dutch voters; in the most recent general election, in 2012, the PVV won the third most votes out of 11 parties entering parliament.
About six percent of the population of the Netherlands is made up of Muslims, mostly of Moroccan and Turkish origin. Islamic radicalism has become an troubling issue for many in the traditionally liberal country, where a Muslim extremist in 2004 shot and stabbed to death a filmmaker critical of Islamism.
Wilders has faced numerous death threats over the years, and has been under police protection since 2004.
In 2010 a radical Muslim cleric in Australia urged Muslims to kill Wilders for denigrating Islam, saying they should “chop off his head.”