Dutch anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders on Wednesday created fresh controversy by airing cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad on Dutch national television.
Critics have condemned his action as the controversial politician’s latest provocation against Islam.
According to reports, Wilders, who leads the Dutch Party for Freedom, aired the cartoons in the programming slots usually reserved for political parties.
Justifying his action, Wilders said, “The Islam, the terrorists, don’t want us to show these cartoons. But terror and violence may never defeat freedom of speech. We must precisely do what the terrorists prevent us to do.”
He is currently facing trial in the Netherlands for discrimination and hate speech over remarks he made about citizens of Dutch-Moroccan origin.
Muslims consider any physical depiction of their Prophet as blasphemous and this has often resulted in violent backlashes in the past. Not too long ago, armed men had entered the office of French magazine Charlie Hebdo killing several journalists for what they considered was a revenge against the magazine’s history of carrying of cartoons of Prophet Muhammad.
Wilders, in his three minute video, showed nine cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. Accompanying caption of one cartoon read, “I have been made victorious with terror.”
Aissa Zanzen, spokesman for the Council of Moroccan Mosques in the Netherlands, described Wilders’ action as a publicity stunt adding that “Wilders is out to provoke Muslims and he has done everything he can to do that.”
Wilders’ decision to broadcast these cartoons coincides with Muslims’ holy month Ramadan.