As some European countries continue to open up their borders to individuals fleeing war and trauma, controversial far-right Dutch figure Geert Wilders increased his attacks on refugees.
In the town of Spijkenisse in Holand, Wilders, who is renowned for his xenophobic rhetoric in Europe, handed out ‘defence sprays’ containing red paint to women to help them repel “Islamic testosterone bombs.”
During a statement given in Spijkenisse, Wilders also claimed that if he were elected he would ‘close the borders immediately’ and in doing so stop the influx of asylum seekers.
Although Wilders was faced with opposition, namely a small group of protestors who shouted slogans such as “Wilders is a racist, not a feminist,” he was also greeted by a substantial number of supporters.
Many individuals also took to twitter to express their support for Wilders supposed ‘protective’ initiative.
Lolololol I love love love gert wilders. https://t.co/DhZPJH3jtT
— sarah david (@Sarah_home) January 25, 2016
@ActForAmerica That Dutch dude is Gert Wilders, a very courageous man speaking the truth about the dangers of islam in Europe. 1/2
— BeHe (@Brooga100) January 23, 2016
Whilst Wilders’ recent statement and action has been criticized as being extremely provocative and inflammatory, this is unfortunately common for the Dutch figure.
During the refugee crisis, he has been known to make controversial statements that have promoted Islamaphobic and anti-immigrant sentiment.
For example, Wilders previously said that the arrival of refugees to Europe is “an Islamic invasion.”
Although the above statement is misinformed, as refugees from different religious faiths and backgrounds are coming into Europe, his rhetoric has nevertheless gained traction.
This anti-immigrant attitude has only helped fuel further hatred and fear of refugees, say human rights activists. This has been demonstrated by policies adopted by some leaders in Europe that have adversely targeted refugees.
“Vilifying entire communities for the unacceptable actions of a few is counterproductive for the effort to prevent terrorism,” said Kenneth Roth in the 2016 Human Rights Watch report.
More than one million refugees entered Europe in 2015 as the refugee crisis continues to unfold.