Archive for PVV

Support for Geert Wilders’ “Freedom Party” Drops Over Crisis

Posted in Feature, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 26, 2012 by loonwatch

Still my favorite picture of Geert Wilders

If Geert Wilders’ consistent and prolonged anti-Islam/Muslim diatribes weren’t enough of a reason to quit supporting him…

If Geert Wilders anti-freedom policies and attacks on civil liberties weren’t enough of a reason to quit supporting him…

If  Geert Wilders xenophobic fearmongering about Polish and Eastern European immigrants to the Netherlands weren’t enough of a reason to quit supporting him…

There’s another reason: The defection of a senior Freedom Party (PVV) MP Hero Brinkman, an ideological counterpart who parted ways with Wilders due to his “autocratic nature” and “unqualified stance against immigration.”

At least that is what polling data seems to be showing:

Geert Wilders support drops over party crisis

The anti-immigration party would now have 21 seats in parliament, three less than the number of seats it won at the last elections, held nearly 18 months ago. MP Hero Brinkman, seen as a key ideologue, left the party earlier this week in protest at Mr Wilders’ autocratic style and unqualified anti-immigrant stance. However, if elections were held now, Mr Brinkman would lack enough support to gain an independent seat, according to the weekly survey.

The minority government of liberal Prime Minister Mark Rutte depends on Mr Wilders’ Freedom Party for a majority in parliament. Now that Mr Brinkman has broken ranks with Mr Wilders, the conservative cabinet may have to rely on other parties as well, in particular on the tiny Christian fundamentalist SGP party.

The minority cabinet has already relied on Labour, the Democrats 66 and the Green Left parties for all those policies not supported by Mr Wilders, such as giving financial aid to Greece and bolstering the euro in general.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

We can’t read too much into these sorts of polls, especially when one considers the fickle nature of polling. However, it is significant, in that it exposes not only rifts and cracks in Wilders movement, but also potential fallout.

What remains to be seen is how Wilders and company will react to all this. Will they ignore this trend or just plain dismiss it? Will they become more aggressive and double down? Will they tone down their jingoistic rhetoric?

In the meantime it seems Wilders hatemongering is continuing to have repercussions:

The Polish Wilders Hates Poles

“I don’t just hate the Poles who work in the Netherlands, I hate all Poles” says Geert Wilders.

It’s not the real Wilders, it’s a satirical programme on Polish television. The Freedom Party leader himself hasn’t gone that far. However, his party does have a website where Dutch people can leave their complaints about Eastern European immigrants. It has been stirring up emotions in Poland for weeks, according to our correspondent Ekke Overbeek.

Szymon Majewski is a well-known Polish comedian with a popular show on the country’s biggest commercial station. In front of a backdrop of windmills, ‘Wilders’ begins the sketch by saying good evening in Dutch (goeie avond). The word goeie, however, means something unpleasant in Polish, so the stage is set. He then explains, in Polish, that he hates all Poles because they drink too much.

Another film, posted on YouTube, has an Asian man telling us that all foreigners, even Dutch, are welcome in Poland. Having nearly been run over by foul-mouthed Dutch people on bikes, he invites all Dutch people to come to Poland for the European football championships. “Poles are friendly and helpful. All the ugly, nasty, greedy Poles are over in the Netherlands”. He is joined by the same fake Wilders who says “Holland for the Dutch.”

Jokes about drugs, euthanasia and abortion follow. The final gag: “You may have a world famous Red Light District, but we have something better. Here you get screwed as soon as you step into a taxi at the airport.”

The Freedom Party’s complaints website has regularly made the news in Poland for over a month. The affair drags on because the Dutch government, which owes its parliamentary majority to Geert Wilders’ support, refuses to disown the website. Prime Minister Mark Rutte says it is an initiative by a political party and has nothing to do with his government. He was asked to appear before the European parliament and explain this stance but chose not to go.

The appearance of a Wilders clone on Polish TV shows that the controversy is beginning to affect the Netherlands image abroad. Until recently, most Poles thought of the Netherlands as a tolerant country, with good job prospects. The number of Polish people in the Netherlands is estimated at between 150 and 200 thousand.

(imm)

For those of you who speak Polish (there are no subtitles), here is the second clip:

Hero Brinkman: Defector From Geert Wilders anti-Islam Party Says PVV is Bankrolled by US Supporters

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 22, 2012 by loonwatch

Geert Wilders and David Horowitz Freedom Center

Geert Wilders and David Horowitz Freedom Center

Tell us something we didn’t already know (via. Islamophobia-Watch):

Wilders’ anti-Islam party is bankrolled by US supporters, says former MP

American lobbyists make large donations to a foundation set up by the anti-immigration PVV, Hero Brinkman, the MP who left the party on Tuesday, told a television talk show on Tuesday evening.

Brinkman said he could not rule out the money being used to pay for Geert Wilders’ defence on racial hatred charges but declined to comment further on what the money had been spent on. Nor would he comment on the size of the donations.

The PVV is thought to generate significant funding from Israeli and far-right supporters in the US.

Because the PVV has no members, it does not receive government subsidies to run the campaigning side of its operations and relies instead on donations.

Dutch News, 21 March 2012

Brinkman’s allegation about the PVV’s finances confirms what had already been revealed in the Dutch press. Last year Dutch Newsreported that the two main US sources for the PVV’s funding were David Horowitz and Daniel Pipes.

See, We Told You: Geert Wilders Xenophobia is Not Limited to Muslims

Posted in Feature, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 15, 2012 by loonwatch

Still my favorite picture of Geert Wilders

Far-right populist Geert Wilders has made a name for himself through his anti-Muslim and anti-Arab rhetoric, and for this reason he is, to quote Robert Spencer, one of the “heroes” of the anti-Muslim movement.

We have consistently pointed out however that Geert Wilders and his allies are not one stop bigots. Behind the “acceptable” attacks on Muslims is hidden a wider xenophobia against ‘the other.’ A bigotry which if not born out of any consistent ideological character is definitely a reflection of the realization that playing on the fears of the majority may lead to positive results at the ballot box.

Wilders and his party, the PVV are riding a wave of popularity through the launch of an anti-Polish/anti-Eastern European website which has been the cause of much controversy and embarrassment in the Netherlands. After launching the site it was reported that the PVV,

would gain 24 seats in parliament if elections were held today, the number of seats the party currently holds, says pollster Maurice de Hond. Geert Wilders’ populist far-right party is the third largest party in the Netherlands.

Wilders’ PVV site displays,

news clippings with bold headlines blaming foreigners for petty crime, noise nuisance – and taking jobs from the Dutch. “Are immigrants from Central and Eastern countries bothering you? We’d like to hear from you,” it says.

The Dutch government has distanced itself from the website but this hasn’t ebbed the disastrous PR that Wilders move has generated.

Besides criticism from ten European ambassadors and the European Commission, the Dutch public has also expressed concerns about possible repercussions. Poles are calling for a boycott of Dutch products.(emphasis mine)

The issue was taken to the European parliament which just yesterday announced its ‘dismay’ and formal response to Wilders most recent populist move:

EP condemns PVV website, exec puts ball in Netherlands’ court

By Gaspard Sebag in Strasbourg | Wednesday 14 March 2012 (Europolitics.info)

Representatives of the political groups in the European Parliament, on 13 March, unanimously called upon the Netherlands’ Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, to condemn a website launched by his far-right political ally, the PVV party headed by Geert Wilders. Said website, up since early February, urges Dutch citizens to report problems they experience with nationals of Central and Eastern European countries. “Unacceptable,” “a disgrace,” “scandalous” – said MEPs. The European Commission, for its part, announced it would not get involved from a legal point of view and leaves the responsibility of assessing the lawfulness of the website to the Dutch authorities. A joint parliamentary resolution will be put to the vote, on 15 March (see box).

The EPP, which counts among its ranks the junior partner in the Netherlands’ government, the centre-right CDA, was particularly vocal. “We cannot tolerate, from a party that takes part in a coalition government, a call to hatred against nationals from another member state. That is unacceptable,” said EPP leader Joseph Daul (France).

Despite the fact that Rutte is part of the Liberal political family, ALDE Chair Guy Verhofstadt (Belgium) was unequivocal about condemning the “silence” of the Dutch government and the message sent by the website. “My group has nothing but contempt for Mr Wilders’ initiative.” Recalling the need to be even-handed in criticising populist tactics, Verhofstadt lumped together French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Wilders. “I wonder who is the extreme-right wing candidate [in France], is it [Marine] Le Pen or Sarkozy?” he asked.

Reactions from other political group leaders all condemned Rutte’s passivity, whose hands are tied by his need for Wilders’ support, and who thus claims it is not a governmental issue. S&D leader Hannes Swoboda (Austria) called for the website to be closed down. Polish deputy Jacek Kurski (EFD) said Rutte’s lack of reaction is “scandalous”. “The prime minister [of the Netherlands] is not taking up his responsibility,” said Marije Cornelissen (Greens-EFA, Netherlands). “The prime minister ought to have directly condemned this website,” said Peter van Dalen (ECR, Netherlands), adding, however, that the EP holding a debate on this issue is “too much honour” for Wilders.

Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding, who had already condemned the PVV website in February, welcomed the comments made in the plenary chamber. “It is unacceptable that EU citizens become target of xenophobic attitudes because they have exercised their right to move from one state to another,” she said. Reding also called upon on the Dutch authorities to “fully investigate the lawfulness of the website under Dutch law and Union law”.

According to Marie-Christine Vergiat (GUE-NGL, France), this is not enough. “You continue to refer to member states and their tribunals but I thought that the Commission was the guardian of the treaties, that freedom of circulation and non-discrimination were part of the European values,” she said. “I notice that certain values are more important than others and that in economic matters when the free circulation of goods and capital is concerned, competition barriers the Commission is prompter to condemn,” added Vergiat.

Geert Wilders Angry at German ‘Right-wing Populist’ Label

Posted in Feature, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 2, 2012 by loonwatch
Still my favorite picture of Geert Wilders

Last week, rabid Islamophobe Diane West railed against the The Daily Beast for taking “a swipe” at her fellow anti-Muslim bigot, Dutch far right wing opportunist, Geert Wilders. The article that inspired her rant asked, “Can’t Someone Tell Geert Wilders to Stop His Anti-Muslim Diatribes Before Somebody Gets Hurt?” 

Wilders is a master at capitalizing on real fears and conjuring false ones—and then dodging responsibility if people’s lives are ruined or lost. “I am responsible for my own actions and for nobody else’s actions,” he says. In a wide-ranging interview at the offices of the Dutch Parliament in The Hague, Wilders complained to Newsweek that the “naive” Obama administration wasn’t doing nearly enough to combat what Wilders regards as the Islamic threat. Expanding on his claims that the Quran should be banned, just as Mein Kampf  has been in some countries, he said the United States should be “getting rid of Islamic symbols—no more mosques—and closing down Islamic schools.” Read the rest here.

Wilders and his ilk have grown accustomed to spreading their hatred with impunity, there are welcome signs the climate may be shifting (h/t: eslaporte):

Wilders angry at German ‘right-wing populist’ label

PVV leader Geert Wilders has demanded the German ambassador explain why he and the anti-islam party are mentioned in a 32-page leaflet warning of the dangers posed by far-right political groupings. The brochure, paid for by the German justice ministry, states that right-wing populist and radical parties could be a breeding ground for terrorism. Wilders is mentioned twice by name and one section includes his photograph. The folder also explains how neo-nazi strategists use social networks. Wilders used the microblogging service Twitter to urge the Dutch government to distance itself from this ‘scandalous’ statement and said questions will be asked in parliament. Some 10% of Germans are said to support populist right-wing groupings. Wilders’ anti-Islam party took around 15% of the vote at the June 2010 general election but support has fallen since then.

Last summer, a Dutch court acquitted Wilders of hate speech charges, this was hailed as a “victory for free speech“ among his hateful kindred on both sides of the Atlantic; it fed well into their “victimhood” narrative and mentality.

Wilders will no doubt continue to portray himself as a besieged champion of “free speech,” apparently oblivious to the irony of simultaneously lobbying to tax the wearing of the hijab, ban the niqab, ban the Qur’an and all things Islamic from the Western world.

Geert Wilders Upset that Queen Beatrix Wears Headscarf in Visit to Mosque, Forgets He Wore Yarmulke to Synagogue

Posted in Feature, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 8, 2012 by loonwatch

Geert Wilders and his PVV Party are upset that Queen Beatrix, queen of the Netherlands wore this “hijab-hat” while visiting a mosque in Abu Dhabi:

Queen_Beatrix_Veil_HijabQueen Beatrix visits mosque in Abu Dabi

Wilders Seemingly forgot that he dressed like this while visiting a synagogue in the United States:

Wearing a Yarmulke (Yamaka) is okay but not the Hijab

Getting upset over celebrities and world leaders wearing Islamic or Muslim garb while visiting a mosque or Islamic holy place is a regular theme amongst Islamophobes, we have covered their angst about this before, Daniel Pipes’ Unhealthy Obsession with the Hijab.

Here is a Radio Netherlands post on the subject (via. Islamophobia-Watch):

Queen’s headscarf causes row

(Radio Netherlands Worldwide)

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, who is in Abu Dabi, wore a headscarf when she visited the Sheikh Zayed Mosque this morning out of respect for the customs, traditions and conventions of Islam, says Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal. The queen is on a two-day state visit to the United Arab Emirates.

“Not to have worn one during a visit to a mosque wasn’t an option. In that case, the invitation to visit to the mosque, one of the most important in the United Arab Emirates, would’ve had to have been refused,” explained Mr Rosenthal.

‘Oppression’
His comments come in response to criticism from the Freedom Party (PVV) about the clothing worn by Queen Beatrix and Crown Princess Máxima who, with her husband Prince Willem-Alexander, is part of the royal party visiting the UAE. The PVV had complained that, by wearing a headscarf, the queen was lending legitimacy to the oppression of women under Islam.

Mr Rosenthal pointed out that Queen Beatrix also adjusts the way she dresses when she visits synagogues and cathedrals.

‘Waste of time’
The democrat D66 party was quick to point out that PVV leader Geert Wilders himself wears a yarmulke when he visits the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. Green Left MP Tofik Dibi not only slammed Mr Wilders’ comments about the queen’s dress but also the responses to them as a waste of time. (emphasis mine)

(mw)

Geert Wilders Opposes Cartoon About His Party

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 16, 2011 by loonwatch

I thought only the evil Mooslims were offended at cartoons?

Geert Wilders is upset that his party the (anti)Freedom party was accurately compared to the Nazis. He wants it to be removed. Hypocrisy-much?

While this is not a clear legal attempt by wily Wilders to ban a cartoon, he obviously wanted it censored and he is still an advocate of banning the Quran.

Disillusioned Citizen informs us that the cartoon has been removed from the offending site:

I went to the site and this is what I saw in Dutch: “De cartoon ‘Wordt vervolgd’ die hier te zien was sinds 11 februari 2011 is op 24 februari verwijderd na ernstige bedreigingen aan het adres van VARA-medewerkers.”

I popped that on to Google translate and this is what it says (sorry I don’t speak Dutch):

“The cartoon “Continued” was shown here since February 11, 2011 to February 24 after removal due to serious threats against VARA staff.”

I guess Geert Wilders has learned a thing or two from the Jihadis: threat of death gets things done.

Wilders angry about cartoon

Freedom party leader Geert Wilders is angry at Dutch public broadcaster VARA for publishing a cartoon on its website Joop.nl which compares a Freedom Party (PVV) plan to Nazi practices. The party recently proposed building so-called ‘scum villages’ for anti-social people. In the cartoon, the residents of such a village are being led to a shower, the same way the prisoners of Nazi destruction camps were led to ‘showers’ where they were gassed.

Mr Wilders said on Saturday it was “a disgusting cartoon. It must be removed from that website immediately, or the PVV will not attend the VARA provincial elections debate scheduled for next Wednesday.” Mr Wilders spoke of “sick minds” at the VARA.

The Joop.nl website is funded by VARA, but has full editorial independence. Francisco van Jole, the website’s editor-in-chief, said Mr Wilders remarks were tantamount to blackmail and that the programme which the Freedom Party was scheduled to attend had nothing to do with Joop.nl. He said he would not remove the cartoon: “This is the opinion of an opinion maker who we are offering a platform. This does not mean we necessarily always share his opinion. It is simply intended to spark debate.”

Mr van Jole said he found it odd that a politician would seek to ban this cartoon. “I understand he is upset … but it forms part of the social debate.” He said Mr Wilders was trying to smother the debate. A VARA spokesperson said the organisation did not necessarily share the opinions presented on Joop.nl and would very much like the Freedom Party to attend Wednesday’s provincial elections debate, but had no intention of ordering Joop.nl to remove the cartoon.

(gsh)

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

Dutch Muslims Taking Geert Wilders’ Abuse?

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 18, 2010 by loonwatch
By Ruben L. OppenheimerBy Ruben L. Oppenheimer

Sheila Kamerman and Dirk Vlasblom have an interesting article about how Dutch Muslims are dealing with the ascendancy and rhetoric of Geert Wilders. Some are choosing to ignore him while others see what he is calling for as impossible and unactionable.  While they are concerned, some Dutch Muslims also think that the best thing might be for Wilders’ PVV to actually win elections and lead the country because the PVV would then be forced to confront and offer more than just anti-Muslim rhetoric. What are your thoughts?

(make sure to check out Krapuul.nl, which is an anti-hate site and ally of ours tracking everything Wilders does. You will need Google Translator for the site.)

Muslims Quietly Take Wilders’ Abuse by Sheila Kamerman and Dirk Vlasblom

Day in and day out, Dutch Muslims are told their religion is “a fascist ideology” and “a threat to Dutch society”. They hear their “so-called prophet Muhammad” is “a barbarian, a mass murderer and a paedophile”, or words to that effect. The indignities come from a member of parliament: Geert Wilders.

After leaving the right-wing liberal VVD party in 2006 and setting up his own Party for Freedom (PVV), Wilders has made criticism of Islam his one main issue. He is being heard by native Dutch people who fear the country of 16 million is suffering under the burden of its estimated one million Muslim citizens. Wilders obtained 5 of the 25 Dutch seats in European parliament last year. His PVV did very well in the two municipalities in which it participated in recent local elections. Some polls have predicted his party could become the biggest in parliament after the upcoming national election.

Some of Wilders’ statements on IslamAbout the Koran: “This book incites hatred and murder and therefore does not fit into our legal system. If Muslims want to participate, they need to distance themselves from the Koran. I realise this is a lot to ask, but we have to stop making concessions.” (Dutch daily De Volkskrant – 2007) .

One wonders why the Muslims he is targeting are not standing up against his attacks and letting themselves be heard.

When asked this question, Islam expert Mohammed Cheppih immediately countered it: “Aren’t we all Dutch?,” he asked. “Society as a whole should stand up to Wilders. Wilders is destroying the Netherlands. We should all ignore him.”

Counterproductive?

Farid Azarkan, the director of an interest group of Moroccan-Dutch people, SMN, agreed. “Where are all the reasonable Dutch people who say: ‘This is not how we treat each other here’?” Ideally, non-Muslims would support their Muslim compatriots en masse, Azarkan ventured. “Suppose that all the women in Almere [the one city where Wilders’ PVV won the most council seats in the local election] would don a headscarf.” Azarkan chuckled at the idea of such a form of protest against the PVV’s proposed headscarf ban in municipal buildings there: “But that is not realistic.”Azarkan has thought about instigating large-scale protest, but believes it would ultimately be counterproductive. “Imagine we would organise a mass demonstration, say, on the Malieveld in The Hague,” he said, referring to a meadow near buildings housing the national government. “It would suddenly be filled with thousands of headscarves. People who don’t fear Islam wouldn’t be bothered by it. But those are not the people we need to convince. The people who support Wilders however, will go ’Yuk, there they are’.”

The fear of rubbing native Dutch people the wrong way by lashing out at Wilders is one argument why Muslims aren’t organising themselves. Another is that a movement would be hard to establish because there is no single Muslim community in the Netherlands. Moroccans, Turks, Somalis, Surinamese, Iranians and Iraqis in the Netherlands all have their own religious lives and communities. They are impossible to mobilise, according to Azarkan.

“”Ultimately many fundamental problems in the Netherlands are directly related to migrants, like infrastructure, traffic jams, housing problems, the welfare state.” (German news agency DPA – 2008) .

Faith in democracy

A unifying, Dutch Islam has yet to develop, said Loubna el Morabet, who is a PhD researcher in social science at Leiden University. “This is an ongoing process. Muslims in the Netherlands are already very Dutch,” she said. “I have done research in the Netherlands and England and learnt that Muslim students here have adopted the Dutch mentality. This is their country.”

Arkazan offered the example of the lack of success of Muslim parties as an argument why any fear of Muslims “taking over” the Netherlands is “a joke”. In this month’s municipal elections, Islamic parties failed to obtain a single council seat anywhere but in The Hague. “Obviously, Muslims vote for a party that suits them, they don’t vote for a religion,” said Arkazan. “We call that integration.”

Q: “So there is a link between Islam and crime?” A: “Absolutely. The figures show that. One in five Moroccan youth is listed as a suspect in police records. Their behaviour stems from their religion and culture. You cannot separate one from the other. The last pope was quite right: Islam is a violent religion. “(De Volkskrant – 2006) .

Many Muslims and non-Muslims in the Netherlands are uncomfortable with the things the PVV has been saying. The party has suggested Muslims who don’t adjust to the dominant Dutch culture should be deported. It has also talked about shooting criminals of Moroccan descent in the knees.

But for most who disagree with him, their faith in democracy is larger than their fear of Wilders.

“Why are we afraid to say that Muslims should adapt to us, because our values are simply of a higher, better, more pleasant and humane level of human civilisation? No integration; assimilation! And let the headscarves fly on the Malieveld. I will eat them raw.”(De Volkskrant – 2004) .

“Of course I feel threatened when I hear Wilders speaking,” said Loubna el Morabet. “But if I take a step back, I realise he will never be able to carry out his ideas. Taxing headscarves is nonsense and halting immigration from Islamic countries is discrimination. The principle of equality is deeply embedded in Dutch law.”

Compromises

Even if he wins the upcoming national election, many Muslims don’t believe he can change Dutch, let alone European, laws that protect them. “And you can’t rule a country ranting and raving,” Farid Azarkan said about Wilders’ politics.

Several Muslims interviewed said they would welcome a large PVV after the June election. If Wilders were to be forced to take responsibility and make compromises, his rank and file would realise he can’t deliver, they said.

“And the Koran is the Mein Kampfof a religion that seeks to eliminate others, and calls those others – non-Muslims – infidel dogs, inferior beings. Read the Koran, that Mein Kampf, again. In any version whatsoever, you’ll see that all the evil that the sons of Allah committed against us and themselves comes from that book. “(Letter in the Volkskrant – 2007) .

The Netherlands is always ruled by coalition governments and if Wilders were to form one “he would need to have clear ideas about other issues than just Muslims,” said El Morabet. “What does he really want for our country? The only statements he yells are anti-Islam, everything else is hazy.”

Cheppih, however, disagreed. “It is extremely frustrating that other parties don’t preclude governing with Wilders. It would be a clear sign if other parties would say: ‘We don’t want to cooperate with the PVV’. The party is empty and has hardly taken positions on anything.” Cheppih encouraged other political parties to rule out any coalition with the PVV after the election. “Society as a whole should hit back hard: we do not accept this! Make that clear. Otherwise, things could escalate. The fear he sows is imaginary, but he is being heard. The higher the minarets, the more frightened the people.”

“I think that there need to be fewer Muslims in the Netherlands. I think the ideology of Islam is abject, fascist and wrong. “(Flemish newspaper Het Nieuwsblad – 2008) .

Personal encounters

This fear of Islam is fuelled by the media hype surrounding Wilders, said El Morabet. “I think it is ridiculous that media pay so much attention to a party that has garnered a handful of seats in the municipal elections. [Left-wing liberal party] D66 was the real winner of the local elections and that happens to be the one party that tells Wilders: ‘You are shutting people out, you discriminate’. That gets relatively little attention.”

To counter the anxiety some native Dutch feel for Islam, Farid Azarkan thinks, Muslims need to try to remove this through personal encounters. “You have to reach out to people. A minority happens to be xenophobe. I don’t believe you can sway all of them. They have to notice out on the streets that you may be Muslim, but apart from that, you are all right.”