In Brief

Dutch far-right party to hold Prophet Mohammed cartoon contest

Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party gets green light for competition from nation’s counterterrorism agency

The Netherlands-based Party for Freedom (PVV) is to hold a competition inviting its members to draw cartoons depicting Islam’s Prophet Mohammed.

The party, led by anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders, is the main opposition in the Dutch parliament, after coming second in elections in March last year.

“Dutch Counter-terrorism Agency NCTV gives green light to Muhammad cartoon contest in secured PVV quarters of Dutch Parliament later this year,” Wilders tweeted yesterday, along with a Mohammed cartoon.

“So that’s what we’re going to do and organize! With cartoonist/ex-Muslim Bosch Fawstin! Freedom of speech is most important of all!!”

Cartoons and other depictions of Mohammad have provoked violent responses in the past.

In 2015, fundamentalist Islamic gunmen stormed the offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, killing 12 people, after the publication printed unflattering cartoons of the Prophet.

In 2005, the publication in a Danish newspaper of a dozen cartoons depicting Mohammad “led to violent protests across the Muslim world”, Reuters says.

Wilders has used his political platform to call for the Koran to be banned in the Netherlands. Russia Today reports that he “has long planned to host such a competition”, but had “previously been prevented from doing so”.

“He has attended a number of exhibits and events focused on mocking the Islamic prophet – usually billed as free speech events,” the news channel adds.

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