Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Wilders: Dutch politics at an all-time low

ABDULATEEF AL-MULHIM

Published — Wednesday 21 May 2014


The Netherlands is one of those few western countries, which has long and direct ties with the Muslim world. It had colonized Indonesia that has the largest Muslim population in the world. They called it the Dutch East Indies and the Dutch companies had been in touch with the Muslim world since the beginning of the 17th Century.

It was the first country to have established a bank, Albank Alhollandi, to facilitate Indonesian Muslims in performing Haj. The ties between Saudi and Dutch people had always been strong based on mutual respect. It was very popular among the Saudi youths during 1970s due to its football team led by Johan Cruyff. It was only in 1994 World Cup in the United States that Saudis did not support the team because Saudi team was playing against it.

In the 1970s, the Saudi high school English curriculum included a book containing a story from Holland “The Black Tulip.” In addition to that young Saudis were also fascinated by a story about a legendary ship, The Flying Dutchman, which never made to its destination. In other words, the Netherlands enjoyed good relations not only with Saudi Arabia but also with the entire Muslim world. Philips products can be seen in every Saudi household.

Nowadays, the Saudi-Dutch ties are strained due to the irresponsible behavior of an individual, Geert Wilders. A right-wing politician of the Party for Freedom, Wilders is testing the patience of the Saudis and the Dutch. Whatever he is saying will not hurt Saudis but it will affect the ties between the two sides. 

Wilders vitriolic attacks on Islam and Saudi Arabia has raised a question in my mind: What does this politician want? 

We understand how the global media operates. But, I think Wilders is getting boring by the day. We think he just want to get right-wing voters to rally behind him? 

His attitude is putting his country’s interests at risk not only in Saudi Arabia but also in the entire Arab and Muslim world. He should realize the difference between freedom of expression and common sense. It is fine if you say something once or twice but repeating it daily not only makes it boring but to a great extent pathetic. He seems to be in a state of delusion. It is easier for him to chase The Flying Dutchman than to make dent in what we believe in.

Wilders is trying to instill fear, which is not a good tactic to be used in the name of freedom of expression. Interestingly, many media outlets in the West simply called him a hypocrite. A politician who is full of hatred is more dangerous than anything else because he will be blinded by his attitude and will not see the other side no matter how bright it is. 

The Netherlands is a country, which is very highly respected in the world but to see one individual continue his unprovoked attacks on Saudi Arabia will leave no other option for the Saudis but to act to stop this irresponsible politician who doesn’t know the basics of politics. He should know that each country or region has its own unique way of life, religion and culture. So, it is not appropriate for any politician to criticize other people. These acts are not appropriate even between nations with similar identities. We saw this when the United Kingdom denied entry to Wilders because they considered him a persona non grata because of his views. People can differ in their views and beliefs but it is not appropriate to try to impose your views on others. As a result of Wilders’ actions many Dutch companies will be affected. Many of the frequent Dutch visiting businessmen and women will not be able to do business the way they used to and it is all because of one pathetic politician.