The Dutch Party for Freedom (PVV) is seeking to have a Tilburg University professor fired because he accused the party’s leader, Geert Wilders, of fascist ideas. The Party raised the issue in a Lower House debate.
“Demonising minorities, dividing the world into ‘we’ versus ‘them’, is a classical example of fascism throughout the years,” Professor Paul Frissen told Limburg-based radio station L1 last Sunday, referring to PVV leader Wilders. “He should be attacked by all political parties, but they are hardly doing so.”
“Increased risk of attack”
PVV feels that these are stigmatising comments. The party claims that Frissen’s statement may contribute to “a climate of demonisation, and thus to an increased risk of a terrorist attack, like the one we saw when Pim Fortuyn was murdered.”
Frissen is a professor at Tilburg University and also serves as the Chairman to the board of the inter-university NSOB (Netherlands School of Public Administration). According to Harm Beertema, who represents PVV in the Lower House, Frissen cannot remain in his current position and must be relieved of his duties. Beertema has called on the Minister of Education, Jet Bussemaker, to insist on his dismissal with the two organisations’ supervisory boards.
So far, Minister Bussemaker has failed to respond to the concerns raised by PVV. In 2011, PVV raised similar concerns regarding Rob Riemen, the manager of Tilburg’s Nexus Institute, who had also accused PVV of fascist tendencies. The party then insisted that the Province of Noord-Brabant withdraw its grant to the European cultural heritage institute.
The then Minister of Internal Affairs, Piet-Hein Donner (CDA), replied at the time that it would be quite questionable “for administrative bodies, in deciding on whether or not to award a grant, to allow themselves to be guided by the question as to whether the receiving party is prone to making comments they do not like. It would verge on the essence of freedom of speech.”