AMSTERDAM - Europe's financial crisis is helping far-right Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders to take his hostile rhetoric against Muslims and their faith deeper into the mainstream, analysts believe.
"Wilders suddenly feels that he's on the right side of history," Jan Techau, director of the Brussels-based European Center of Endowment for International Peace, told Bloomberg in an interview.
"The crisis has given everybody a very good vent to let things out."
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Wilders, the leader of the far-right Freedom Party, brought down the Dutch government last week after refusing to back budget cuts proposed by the European Union.
The far-right MP argued that the Netherlands should decide budget policy, not lawmakers in Brussels.
As election is scheduled for September, Wilders seeks to use the vote to win public support for his radical views about Europe and Muslim immigrants.
Wilders wants the Netherlands to withdraw from the Euro zone and reintroduce the Dutch guilder.
The blonde bouffant haired-MP argues that the costs of euro membership outweigh benefits, a position backed by the Dutch public.
Surveys by Maurice de Hond showed a clear majority of Dutch people think the level of budget cuts demanded by the European Union is excessive.
However, only 32 percent of respondents favored quitting the euro.
Wilders is known for his opposition to euro zone bailouts and wants overseas development aid slashed.
The lawmaker also opposes Turkey's admission to the European Union and pushed to end Dutch missions in Afghanistan and Libya.
Wilders' rhetoric appealed to voters who felt the mainstream parties were out of touch with the problems of immigration.
Analysts opine that Wilders' anti-euro position helps him take his radical views about Islam and Muslims to the mainstream.
"The basic instinct of Wilders has always been anti-EU and anti-euro, even though his main, big aura of anti-Islam leads many people to overlook this," Shada Islam, an analyst at the Friends of Europe policy-advisory group in Brussels, told Bloomberg.
"He's thus able to attract a bigger swath of voters who might otherwise be repelled by his xenophobia."
Wilders has called for halting Muslim immigration into the Netherlands, banning face veils, and stopping the construction of mosques.
In a new book, "Marked for Death, Islam's War Against the West and Me," which was released in the United States in Tuesday, May 1, Wilders once again calls Islam a religion of violence.
"We are facing a determined enemy who is striving through all means to destroy the West and snuff out traditions of free thought, free speech and freedom of religion. Make no mistake: if we fail, we will be enslaved," he wrote.
Wilders is notorious for his rants against Islam and Muslims.
He has also called for banning the Noble Qur'an, describing the Muslim holy book as fascist.
In 2008, Wilders released a 15-minute documentary accusing the Qur'an of inciting violence.His party's anti-Islam campaigns, however, have helped it make its biggest gains since Wilders has founded it in 2006.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net