The Hague: Publicity-seeking Dutch anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders is to broadcast cartoons of the prophet Muhammad on television during time reserved for political parties, his party says.
The cartoons will be shown on Dutch public television on Saturday, Mr Wilders’ Freedom Party (PVV) said on Friday, adding that they would be repeated on June 24 and July 3.
Mr Wilders said he was making the broadcasts to defend freedom of speech after two militants were shot dead while attacking a Muhammad cartoon contest in Texas last month.
Many Muslims find drawings of the prophet to be disrespectful or outright blasphemous and Dutch authorities have said such a move could see Mr Wilders’ right to airtime suspended for up to four years.
Dutch embassies have reportedly been warned about what measures to take if the cartoons are broadcast, as they could spark violent protests.
Mr Wilders’ announcement this month that he wanted to show the cartoons on television prompted the Council of Moroccan Mosques in the Netherlands to release its own cartoon mocking Mr Wilders as a spoilt child with a big mouth.
The cartoon shows Mr Wilders shouting “fewer, fewer” in reference to his announcement last year that he would reduce the number of Moroccans in the Netherlands.
Behind the politician is the bomb that he wants to explode in Dutch society, while underneath the bomb and the hysterical Mr Wilders are normal citizens, including Muslims, getting on with their lives and ignoring the bouffant-hairdoed populist.
“We’re building the Netherlands further,” the cartoon says.
Mr Wilders, who gave an anti-Islam speech at the Texas event shortly before the attack, had tried to get the parliament to stage an exhibition of Muhammad caricatures.
The platinum-haired politician, whose PVV gained popularity in the Netherlands on an anti-Islam ticket, has denied that a cartoon exhibition would be provocative.
The Dutch Media Authority provides airtime to parties to make political statements, but has said it only looks at the content of the broadcasts after they are shown.
If a judge decides that a hate crime has been committed then the authority can withdraw a party’s right to airtime for up to four years.
Ever since forming his own party in 2006, Mr Wilders has been a divisive figure in the Netherlands, which prides itself on its long but fading tradition of multicultural tolerance.
The firebrand politician says he is acting in the name of freedom of speech, but also that he wants the Koran banned.
He has been charged with hate speech for saying he would arrange for there to be fewer Moroccans in the Netherlands.