Dutch politician cancels Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest

Minnie Murray
September 2, 2018

Police on Tuesday arrested the man at one of The Hague's main railway stations after he posted a film on Facebook saying he planned an attack on Wilders or the Dutch parliament. Police said they detained a 26-year-old suspect who is likely to be arraigned on Friday.

Earlier in June, Wilders announced plans for a cartoon contest to depict Islam's Prophet Muhammad.

Wilders has for years lived under round-the-clock security due to repeated death threats linked to his criticism of Islam.

An ultra-conservative party in Pakistan on Wednesday called for the expulsion of the Dutch ambassador in protest against a far-right and anti-Islam Dutch politician's plan for a cartoon competition featuring depictions of the Prophet Muhammad.

The Dutch prime minister, Mark Rutte, distanced his government from the event and labelled it "disrespectful" but said it could go ahead on the grounds of freedom of expression.

He said the cancellation of the contest was success of their diplomatic efforts. "We have raised this issue at several levels", he said.

The foreign minister said sentiments of Muslims in Europe were also hurt.

Pakistan's newly elected government has denounced the contest, calling it an attempt to defame Islam.

Mehmood Qureshi said Pakistan would still raise the issue at global forum including at the United Nations and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). He said such acts spread hatred and intolerance.

The TLP had also demanded that since the competition's judge is an American national, "therefore, strict measures should also be taken against the US".

The two foreign ministers agreed to continue working together on issues of mutual interest.

He said the Pakistani government and its people were on the same page against blasphemous caricatures.

However, it became the subject of protests in Pakistan where thousands of people demonstrated against the contest, in a march organised by Islamist party Tehreek-e-Labbaik.

Back then, Wilders explained that his intention was not to "provoke or insult" and that the event was being held "because the freedom of speech is the most important freedom we have".

"Prophet (PBUH) lives in the heart of every Muslim", stated Khan. His government has summoned the Dutch ambassador to lodge a formal protest, but has so far dismissed calls to expel the envoy. They´re making jokes about our Prophet (SAW).

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