Tags: mark rutte | netherlands | pm | values | leave

Mark Rutte, Netherlands PM: Accept Our Values or Leave Our Country

Image: Mark Rutte, Netherlands PM: Accept Our Values or Leave Our Country

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte arrives at the Council of the European Union on the first day of a two-day summit on Oct. 20, 2016, in Brussels, Belgium. (Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

By    |   Monday, 23 Jan 2017 02:17 PM

In an open letter to the citizens of the Netherlands, Prime Minister Mark Rutte advised those who don’t want to respect the country’s customs to leave.

Rutte took out a full-page ad in newspapers to say those who “refuse to adapt, and criticize our values” should “behave normally, or go away,” The Guardian reported. The message was generally regarded as an attempt to draw voters away from Geert Wilder’s Freedom party (PVV), which opposes Muslim immigration into the country. 

The Netherlands is gearing up for an election on March 15, and Wilder’s PVV party has a narrow lead over Rutte’s center-right VVD party.

While Rutte understands the Dutch people were becoming “uncomfortable” or even angry about Muslims harassing gays and women, he felt it was important “not to tar everyone with the same brush, or insult or expel whole groups,” the Guardian reported.

“We must actively defend our values,” Rutte’s message said.

Wilders was convicted in December of inciting discrimination against Moroccans in the wake of several speeches that led to violence. He is appealing the conviction, calling it “shameful,” according to The Associated Press.

On Monday, Wilders said Rutte was “the man of open borders, the asylum tsunami, mass immigration, Islamization, lies and deception,” the AP reported.

Although Wilders has a lead in the polls, mainstream party leaders reject him and his tactics, and it is unclear whether he will have the ability to form a coalition if he does win the popular vote, the AP said.

Rutte’s coalition helped the Netherlands achieve a strong recovery after Europe’s financial crisis, but Wilder’s message speaks to the desire of many to stop Muslim immigration.

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In an open letter to the citizens of the Netherlands, Prime Minister Mark Rutte advised those who don't want to respect the country's customs to leave.
mark rutte, netherlands, pm, values, leave
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2017-17-23
Monday, 23 Jan 2017 02:17 PM
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