June 12, 2018 / 3:19 PM / 4 months ago

Dutch anti-Islam party to hold Prophet Mohammad cartoon competition

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The Freedom Party of Dutch anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders will hold a competition of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammad, it said on Tuesday.

Dutch anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders appears in court for his appeal against a conviction for inciting discrimination accusing prosecutors of trying to destroy his right to free speech, in Amsterdam, Netherlands, May 17, 2018. REUTERS/Francois Walschaerts

The party said the plan to hold the competition in the party’s secure offices in Dutch Parliament had been approved by the Dutch Counter-terrorism Agency NCTV.

Cartoons depicting Mohammad have provoked violent responses in the past.

In 2015, Islamist gunmen killed 12 people at the Paris offices of the French secularist satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, which had printed cartoons of the Prophet. In 2005, the publication in a Danish newspaper of a dozen cartoons depicting the Prophet led to violent protests across the Muslim world.

Wilders’ Freedom Party is the leading opposition party in parliament after coming in second place in elections last March. He has called for the Koran to be banned, and says Islam is a totalitarian faith.

“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.”

American cartoonist Bosch Fawstin, winner of a similar contest in Garland, Texas, in May 2015, has been asked to judge the Dutch contest, which will be held later this year.

Reporting by Anthony Deutsch; Editing by Peter Graff

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