Dutch premier distances govt from anti-Islam cartoon contest

August 24, 2018 - 9:45 am

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — The Dutch prime minister has distanced his government from a Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest being organized later this year by anti-Islam lawmaker Geert Wilders.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte said Friday that Wilders "is not a member of the government. The competition is not a government initiative."

Rutte's comments came after angry reactions in Pakistan to the proposed contest, which Wilders plans to hold in November in his Party for Freedom's heavily guarded offices at the Dutch parliament.

Opposition lawmaker Wilders is well known for his fierce criticism of Islam and has previously sparked fury in Muslim nations with a film about Islam. He lives under a round-the-clock guard following years of death threats.

Physical depictions of God or the Prophet Muhammad, even respectful ones, are considered blasphemous under mainstream Islamic tradition.

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