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Immigrant school children fear Wilders could deport them
by Irene de Pous
Teachers in the Netherlands are struggling to explain to their students that anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders is allowed to say things that would not be tolerated in school.
A boy with short cropped brown hair raised his hand to ask teacher Mohammed Kaaouass a question about the anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders. "Sir, why is Wilders only taking on Moroccans. Why aren't French people being kicked out of the country?" The student was a member of a class of 10 to 12-year-old boys at the Islamic primary school Al-Iman discussing the populist politician on a recent Friday morning, little over a week after Wilders' Party for Freedom (PVV) had become the biggest party in the municipal government in their city, Almere. The headscarf-clad girls in the class had just left for physical education, which is taught separately to boys and girls.
Geert Wilders' PVV won 20 percent of the votes in this city of 188,000. As in the upcoming national elections, the PVV ran on an anti-immigration platform and has announced it wants to tax or ban headscarfs and deport criminal youths who hold passports from other countries. Wilders is currently being prosecuted in the Netherlands for hate speech and inciting discrimination after he compared the Koran to Hitler's Mein Kampf and made a controversial video that juxtaposed Koranic verses with images of Islamic terrorism.
Kaaouass teaches religion, but after the local election he decided to talk to his students about politics. "That Wilders has become big," Kaaouass said, "has to do with us."
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