This blog has featured many stories on the phenomenal rise of the Freedom Party (PVV) and the electrifying effect it has had on a section of the Dutch public.
But what about the Muslims in The Netherlands and Islam in Europe? Obviously the rise of a movement hostile to Islam must be a matter of concern, fear and anger to them, right?
Dutch Muslim politicians think Muslims may turn against society
Rotterdam has a Muslim mayor, the recently appointed Achmed Aboutaleb. A member of Mr. Aboutaleb's council, Turkish Labour aelderman Hamit Karakus (Dutch), gave vent to his feelings. In newspaper "De Volkskrant" he says:
young Muslims (Dutch) do not feel that they are accepted. Young, well educated Muslims wonder whether they have a future in The Netherlands. It may be that this may lead to radicalisation of a small fraction of Muslims in The Netherlands. People who wonder about their future fall back on the certainties of their own group. I can see how the message of radical Muslims strikes a chord amongst a still small, but growing group.Are the words of the professional politician echoed by society?
Wilders is responsible for the growing rift between Muslims and indigenous Dutch. Half of the population of Rotterdam has a immigrant origin by now.
The opinion of the Muslim in the street
A poll commissioned by a Dutch News and Commentary TV show, called Netwerk, completes the picture painted by the Rotterdam municipal council member.
The Netwerk poll (Dutch) asked 319 Muslims of Moroccan and Turkish origin about their thoughts about The Netherlands since Geert Wilders is becoming popular. Moroccans and Turks constitute seventy percent of all Muslims in The Netherlands.
A majority feels at home, but the trend is downward
The majority (76 percent) of sampled Muslims feel at home in The Netherlands. Half of Dutch Muslims (51 percent) thinks of leaving The Netherlands more and more often.
Dutch Muslims identify less with the Dutch nation. A quarter of those sampled see Dutch as their primary identity. 29 percent felt like that ten years ago. 28 percent feels primarily Muslim, compared with a fifth ten years ago.
A widening rift
The increasing popularity of Geert Wilders amongst the ethnic Dutch hurts the feelings of Dutch Muslims. 57 percent feels less at home. 74 percent thinks the Dutch have a lower opinion of Muslims as a result of Geert Wilders' popularity. 39 percent feels discriminated against more often since Wilders has become a power in Dutch politics.
Fear, uncertainty, doubt
22 percent of Dutch Muslims feels fear. And another 22 percent of sampled Dutch Muslims feel hatred as a result of Geert Wilders' popularity with the ethnic Dutch.
The Muslim in the street agrees with Hamit
The Netwerk poll and the words of Rotterdam Aelderman Hamit Karakus indicate a growing rift between Dutch Muslims and wider society, coinciding with the growing electoral strength of Geert Wilders and the PVV. The Netherlands is becoming a less attractive country for Muslims.
The report on Dutch Muslims' unhappiness with Mr. Wilders can be downloaded here as a pdf.