Dutch right-wing politician Geert Wilders compared Islam to Nazism on Friday in a television interview ahead of the official start of campaigning for the upcoming general election in the Netherlands.
Wilders, leader of the biggest political party in the Netherlands, also stated that he wants to close all mosques, because he said they are a symbol of an ideology which is possibly more dangerous than Nazism.
"I think if we didn't allow the symbol of this ideology in the Netherlands anymore, we would not make our rule of law weaker but stronger, because Islam is dressed up as a religion, while it is an ideology. I am sure that if there were Nazi temples in the Netherlands, there would be an uproar if this was allowed. Believe me, Islamic ideology is possibly more dangerous," Wilders said.
Wilders' Party for Freedom (PVV) leads in most opinion polls, with Prime Minister Mark Rutte's conservative VVD party in second place. But the VVD and other Dutch mainstream parties have said they won't enter into a coalition with Wilders because his platform calls for banning mosques and the Koran as well as leaving the European Union.
"We want to make our own Netherlands, to close our borders and to keep all that money that we give to the foreigners, there is billions, to Africa for development, to Brussels, to Greece, to asylum seekers in the Netherlands, we will stop that and give all that money to the Dutch people living in the Netherlands," Wilders said.
Wilders said that promises by other parties not to work with him would be quickly forgotten if, as expected, his party gets more than 30 parliamentary seats in next month's election.
He then entered a fiery exchange on Twitter with Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Sunday, who denied claims of a popular "revolt" if alternative coalitions tried to shut Wilders out.
"Zero percent (chance) Geert, ZERO percent. It. Is. Not. Going. To. Happen," Rutte tweeted on his personal account, the first time it has been used in five years.
The VVD, however, followed up saying Rutte's tweet represented both his personal position and the party line.
Wilders, a prolific user of Twitter, quickly shot back saying: "It's the voters who are in charge of this country Mark, for a HUNDRED percent. And. Nobody. In. The. Netherlands. Still. Believes. You."
The full half-hour interview with Wilders was broadcast on Dutch public television on Sunday morning.