Dutch lawmaker backs Nupur Sharma, says ‘she has the right to speak out’

Geert Wilders, known for making anti-Islam statements, said, “Courts will decide if one oversteps the mark and not mobs who threaten to kill anybody”

Geert Wilders

Outspoken Dutch member of parliament Geert Wilders has come out in support of suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma, who had made derogatory remarks on Prophet Muhammad.

Wilders, who has in the past made anti-Islam remarks, said India is a democracy and every Indian has a right to his or her opinion. “Nobody should be punished or apologise for speaking the truth… a nation shouldn’t lose freedom for economic reasons,” the Dutch leader said while interacting with an Indian media house while referring to the reaction from Gulf countries to the Nupur Sharma controversy.

Wilders said the situation is alarming and it is a matter of preserving freedom. “Democracies like India and Netherlands have a rule of law, courts to decide if one oversteps the mark and not mobs who threaten to kill anybody,” he said, adding that he too received death threats for backing Sharma’s remarks.

The Dutch leader, who was once banned from entering Britain for his open opposition to Islam as a religion, said it is fine to like or dislike what Nupur Sharma said, but then “she has the right to speak out”.

Earlier, Wilders had received death threats for making a controversial movie on the Quran. “My movie, called Fitna criticised Islamic ideology. The Al-Qaeda, the Taliban and many others issued fatwas against me. I had to leave my home. I lived in a safe house provided by the government. I lost my freedom,” he said.

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Nupur Sharma has been facing the heat for commenting on the Prophet during a TV news debate recently.  Countries like Bahrain, Turkiye, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Jordan, Afghanistan, UAE, Iran and Pakistan have expressed their reservations on Nupur Sharma’s remarks.

Some of the countries sought public apology from India. The Indian foreign ministry responded by saying that it was the view of some “fringe elements” and was not representative of the Government of India’s views.