Netherlands politician Wilders retracts mosque and Quran ban bill News
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Netherlands politician Wilders retracts mosque and Quran ban bill

Following winning the Netherlands elections, Geert Wilders, a politician known for his far-right stances, retracted a controversial bill he initially proposed in 2018. The bill, which called for a ban on mosques and the Quran, has been completely withdrawn by Wilders as of Monday.

The proposed legislation seeks to outlaw practices and symbols associated with Islam, labeling it as an authoritarian ideology. The bill would enforce a comprehensive prohibition on various aspects of Muslim cultural expression, including the wearing of religious garments, the distribution and possession of the Quran and the operation of mosques. Those found in breach of this law would face a maximum sentence of five years in prison. The law was proposed five years ago but has yet to garner votes in the lower parliament. It has remained under review until now.

This decision was made to reopen discussions for establishing a new government following the November elections. The strategic action may help the PVV party gain a new political partner.

Pieter Omtzigt, head of the NSC coalition, has raised issues regarding the compatibility of Wilders’ policies with the Dutch Constitution, particularly concerning basic human rights and freedom of religion.

After an election that saw the PVV party win a substantial number of parliamentary seats and demonstrated the necessity for coalition partners, Wilders has assured that any legislation put forward would be modified to conform to the current Constitution.

In 2019, the State Council, an independent body responsible for evaluating legislation, recommended the permanent withdrawal of the proposed law. The Council concluded that the law was fundamentally at odds with democratic principles, constitutional mandates, and essential human rights.

In the next few days, representatives from four organizations, among them the PVV and NSC, will convene at a private venue, out of reach of the press, to engage in a series of negotiations expected to last a week. These discussions aim to finalize a detailed report summarizing the advancements achieved, which is scheduled to be released in early February.