Wilders, Dewinter to ignore Molenbeek's ban on their "Islam safari"

Geert Wilders surrounded by bodyguards, Spijkenesse Feb 2017
Geert Wilders surrounded by bodyguards, Spijkenesse Feb 2017Photo: Peter van der Sluijs / Wikimedia Commons

The mayor of Molenbeek in Belgium decided to ban a visit by PVV leader Geert Wilders and Vlaams Belang leader Filip Dewinter to the municipality on Friday. The two right-wing politicians decided to ignore this ban and go through with their "Islam safari", as Dewinter calls it, RTL Nieuws reports.

Dewinter wants to give Wilders a tour through the "jihad capital of Europe" by foot and car. "We are definitely going to continue. We wonder how the mayor wants to close the territory and how that will work", Dewinter's spokesperson said, according to the broadcaster. He calls it "too foolish for words that two people's representatives are denied access. We are no longer free in our own country."

On Twitter Wilders called the ban "cowardly". "And with this, Molenbeek is officially declared Islamic territory", according to the PVV leader.

Mayor Françoise Schepmans finds the planned visit provocative and said that safety can not be guaranteed. He therefore banned the visit in a police order, according to RTL. "The activity and meeting of Filip Dewinter and Geert Wilders is prohibited in the territory of the municipality of Sint-Jans-Molenbeek. Any meeting of persons in the context of this event, participants, organizers or opponents, is forbidden", the police order states. 

Molenbeek has a large Muslim community. The municipality was in the news over the past period because several perpetrators of attacks in Brussels and Paris had ties with it.