After alleged death threats and massive protests in Pakistan, the far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders on Thursday cancelled a drawing competition of the Prophet Muhammad, which sparked much outrage. Wilders, who is the founder and leader of the Freedom Party is known for his anti-Islamic rhetoric. In 2006, he had campaigned to ‘limit the growth of Muslim numbers’ in the Netherlands. Media reports say his party wants to ban the holy textbook Koran, shut all mosques and asylum centres.
Wilders had announced the cartoon contest in June depicting Islam’s Prophet Muhammad and said that he had already received 200 entries. The winner was supposed to be given a cash prize. But as massive protests erupted in Lahore and Islamabad by far-right religious parties such as Tehreek-i-Labaik Pakistan party, the leader decided to scrap the competition.
The physical depiction of God or the Prophet Muhammad are forbidden in Islam and is deeply offensive to Muslims. “To avoid the risk of victims of Islamic violence, I have decided to not let the cartoon contest go ahead,” Wilders said.
Reacting to the development, the newly elected Prime Minister Imran Khan, in his first address to the Senate in the capital, Islamabad had vowed to take the matter to the United Nations General Assembly in September, he said it a ‘collective failure of the Muslim world’.
Meanwhile, the far-right party Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) headed by Khadim Hussain Rizvi threatened to carry out protests in many parts of the country, saying that the ruling dispensation should cut ties with the Netherlands.
Earlier, TLP was responsible for protests in Islamabad demanding the resignation of the federal law minister over changes in the Constitution and a stern practice to the country’s blasphemy laws.