The peculiar nature of modern Dutch populism
…The question, then, in the Netherlands as well as other democracies, is how to restore confidence in liberal politics. Without wishing to revive the more dogmatic forms of multiculturalism, which sees assimilation, or even integration into mainstream society, as a kind of cultural betrayal, people in the Netherlands, as well as other parts of Europe, will have to get used to treating immigrants from non-Western countries as equal citizens. This also goes for European Muslims. Only then can the violent revolutionary element be effectively isolated.
In fact, the reality in the Netherlands is not as bad as the harsh rhetoric of populists might suggest. Geert Wilders is popular, but not nearly as popular as the former social democratic mayor of Amsterdam, Job Cohen. Ever since he tried to calm things down in Amsterdam after the murder of Theo van Gogh by a young Muslim terrorist, he has been attacked by his critics as a cowardly appeaser of Islamic extremism. He personifies, in the eyes of his enemies, the liberal elitism and soft tolerance that people blame for everything, from street crime in immigrant neighbourhoods to violent Islamist extremism.