Wilders belittled after fierce anti-refugee "Islamic invasion" speech

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PVV leader Geert Wilders' anti-refugee, anti-Islam comments have caused many ruffled feathers in the refugee debate in the Tweede Kamer, lower house of parliament, on Thursday.

According to the PVV leader, the refugees are safe enough in the refugee camps in their own regions. The only ones coming to northwest-Europe are "economic refugees", NU reports. He spoke of an "Islamic invasion" of "men with beards" flooding into Europe. Wilders insisted on closing the borders and abandoning the Schengen Treaty. He closed his speech with a statement to Prime Minister Mark Rutte: "Stop building refugee centers. Stand up for your own people, your own culture."

This did not go down well with opposition parties in the Tweede Kamer. SP leader Emile Roemer said that he is done with Wilders' "hypocritical fuss". According to him, Wilders is all for throwing bombs on Syria and Iraq, but not prepared to take responsibility for the consequences. "I despise it. My party stands for dignity. That means that we do not let people down." Roemer continued that the refugees in the regional camps live in appalling conditions. There is almost no sense of hygiene and kids can not attend school. GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver chimed in with the fact that women in the camps live with the fear of being raped. "That is not safety", Roemer said.

D66 leader Alexander Pechtold told the Kamer that Wilders' "huffing and puffing" over the past years has not contributed anything to a solution. According to him, it is life-threateningly dangerous that Wilders twists facts and throw sand in the eyes. He also distanced himself from Wilders' comment on "men with beards". "What is worse, a man with a beard or a guy with dyed hair?" he asked.

On Wednesday the Cabinet announced that they have agreed with the European Commission's plan to redistribute 160 thousand refugees across the European Union member states. They did however set a strict condition: this is only a temporary solution and the EU countries have to keep working on sheltering refugees in safe havens in their own regions. With this condition, the cabinet will agree to take in an extra 7,214 refugees, on top of the about two thousand refugees previously allocated to the Netherlands.

In preparation for this debate, Amnesty International placed hundreds of welcome mats on the Plein in The Hague on Thursday morning. This is a call on Prime Minister Mark Rutte to be more welcoming to refugees.

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