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Mosques want Twitter to ban Geert Wilders

November 6, 2018

A federation representing more than 100 mosques in the Netherlands has called on Twitter to block the account of anti-Islam populist Geert Wilders. The group says it will take legal action if the platform fails to act.

Geert Wilders
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/EPA/M. Beekman

The Turkish Islamic Cultural Federation (TICF) has sent a formal request to Twitter demanding that Dutch firebrand politician Geert Wilders be banned for inciting hatred.

Wilders, the leader of the far-right Freedom Party (PVV), has often courted controversy with his staunch anti-Islam views and derogatory statements about immigrants.

The TICF, which represents 144 Turkish mosques in the Netherlands, said some of Wilders' tweets breached the guidelines of the social media platform as well as laws in several countries, including Tunisia, Pakistan, Morocco and Indonesia.

"Twitter provides Wilders with a platform to spread his hatred worldwide," said Ejder Kose, TICF's lawyer. "This means that not only Wilders, but also Twitter, is punishable in those countries."

"The world is bigger than the Netherlands," he added.

Read moreWilders stays away as race-hate trial opens

Protests in Pakistan
Wilders canceled his plan to hold a Muhammad cartoon competition after protests in Pakistan, Afghanistan and elsewhereImage: picture-alliance/AP Photo/K. M. Chaudary

Possible legal action

In a letter to Twitter, the federation said it was seeking a "permanent ban ... of Mr. Geert Wilders ... due to continuous publications on his Twitter account of messages, images and other content which is a display of hateful conduct."

The TICF said it would launch legal action if the social network fails to respond within three weeks.

"Going to court is the last thing we want to do but if we have to, we'll do it," Kose said.

Wilders guilty of inciting discrimination

Offensive tweets

In a tweet in September 2017, Wilders called Prophet Muhammad a "pedophile, mass murderer, terrorist and madman."

The politician also attempted to organize a competition of cartoons depicting the prophet, before an outcry from Muslims around the world forced him to cancel it.

Physical depictions of the prophet are forbidden in Islam and are considered deeply offensive to Muslims.

Wilders took to Twitter on Monday to denounce the bid to block him from the platform, calling it "madness."

nm/cmk (AFP, EFE)

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