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    In this Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017 file photo, Dutch populist anti-Islam lawmaker Geert Wilders delivers a speech at a meeting of European Nationalists in Koblenz, Germany.

    Dutch Freedom Party to Hold Prophet Mohammad Cartoon Drawing Contest

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    The party's leader Geert Wilders has earlier claimed that Islam is a totalitarian ideology rather than a religion and has called for mosques to be closed and the Koran to be banned.

    Dutch politician Geert Wilders' right-wing Freedom Party will organize a competition for cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammad in an alleged attempt to defend freedom of speech in the country.

    "Freedom of speech is threatened, especially for Islam critics," Wilders said in a statement. "We should never accept that. Freedom of speech is our most important freedom."

    The party said on Tuesday that it plans to hold the contest in the party's secure offices in the Dutch Parliament. The country's counter-terrorism agency, NCTV, has given a green light to the initiative, the party's representatives said.

    READ MORE: Dutch Party for Freedom Head Wilders Says EU Lacks Such Leaders as Putin

    The competition will be judged by US cartoonist Bosch Fawstin, who won a similar contest in Texas in May 2015.

    Wilders' Freedom Party came second in the Dutch parliamentary election in March 2017, receiving 20 seats. Now it is the leading opposition party in the parliament.

    Earlier, Wilders claimed that Islam is a totalitarian ideology rather than a religion and called for mosques to be closed and the Koran to be banned.

    Cartoons depicting Prophet Mohammad have been negatively perceived by Muslims and have in the past even sometimes led to violent attacks.

    READ MORE: Dutch Right-Wing Freedom Party Wins Seats in 30 Municipalities — Party's Head

    In January 2015 the offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo became subject to a terrorist attack that killed 12 people. The shooting was allegedly motivated by the magazine's publication of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad.

    The attack was followed by mass rallies in support of freedom of the press in many cities in France and worldwide. At the same time, a number of countries have seen thousands of Muslims take to the streets, offended by Charlie Hebdo's cartoons.


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