The outspoken Dutch politician Geert Wilders, who heads the Party for Freedom (PVV) and has been a staunch supporter of Israel and a critic of Islam, apparently was the target of a jihadist assassination attempt.
It was revealed in court that Mohammed A., who is suspected of returning from jihad in Syria to conduct attacks, told others that he planned to attack Wilders, reports NL Times.
A., a 22-year-old from the city of Delft, was on trial for preparing a robbery and possessing three firearms. The public prosecutor has called for a four-year prison term against him.
The conversations in which A. told others he was going to attack Wilders, which took place in A.’s mother’s car that police had bugged with listening devices, were discussed in court. Reportedly he refused to answer questions about the conversations in court, taking the right of silence.
The suspected jihadist was arrested last year in a sting operation. On information that he was trying to gather money for jihadist terrorism, an undercover officer suggested he buy three guns to commit a robbery, a purchase which he carried out.
A. reportedly had returned from leaving to join Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria, and is thought to have been jailed for six months in the country.
He denies the charges, claiming, “I spent six months in Turkey and I was on the border between Turkey and Syria 11, 12 times. I helped poor people there.”
Wilders has long warned the West of the jihadist threat, just this month sharing a troubling study on Muslims in the Netherlands during an address to the Gatestone Institute in New York.
The study conducted by the University of Amsterdam found over 100,000 of the country’s one million Muslims, comprising 11% of the Muslim population, are ready to use violence for Islam. A full 73% said jihadists going to fight in Syria are “heroes.”
“That is 100,000 people in a country of 17 million inhabitants,” Wilders warned. “The terrorists may be only a minority, but polls suggest that they have the support of the majority.”