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Dutch debate role of Islam as key polls loom
by Sophie Mignon
Hundreds of Dutch citizens packed into a Rotterdam mosque Friday for an animated debate on the role of Muslims in the country, a central theme as key elections loom.
The Essalam mosque -- the biggest in The Netherlands -- hosted the evening, which comes as the Freedom Party (PVV) of far-right anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders appears set to emerge as one of the largest in parliament in Wednesday's vote.
Wilders has vowed to bar Muslim immigrants, close mosques and ban sales of the Koran, and new polls late Friday suggested he was consolidating his second place behind Prime Minister Mark Rutte's Liberal VVD and could be poised for his best polls showing ever.
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