US Ambassador to Netherlands Clashes with Dutch Reporters Over Remarks About Muslims

12 January, 2018, 03:24 | Author: Malcolm Fuller
  • Pete Hoekstra

On his first official day in the job, Pete Hoekstra was taken to task over controversial comments he made in 2015 in which he said that the "Islamic movement" was creating chaos in Europe and suggested that extremists were burning politicians and cars in the Netherlands.

A CNN report published this week documented multiple times Hoekstra had referred to "no-go zones", in European cities during appearances on conservative media, including talk radio, and a print op-ed, and unearthed other instances where he had given fuel to conspiracy theories about Muslims.

He did not answer and another journalist said: "This is the Netherlands, you have to answer questions".

He added: "Chaos in the Netherlands - there are cars being burned". Hoekstra refused to answer the question, but the brutal interrogation wasn't over.

After Hoekstra had presented his credentials to the Dutch king in the Hague on Wednesday, the former congressman told reporters that he would be "moving on" from the controversy over his remarks.

In a clip from the 2015 event, reportedly sponsored by the far-right David Horowitz Freedom Center, Hoekstra appears on a panel discussing the spread of radical Islam.

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When asked about the same comments by the Dutch news program Nieuwsuur in December, Hoekstra denied having made the statements, calling it "fake news".

RTL political correspondent Roel Geeraedts, told the Washington Post in a telephone interview: 'We were all astonished he did not want to take back the comment. "He's been received well by the Dutch government, and we hope that he can be received well by the people of the Netherlands".

At a 2015 conference, he grossly exaggerated its dangers, claiming "the Islamic movement has now gotten to a point where they have put Europe into chaos". Moments later, he denied that he had called them fake news.

In a December 23 note on Twitter Hoekstra acknowledged having made the comments in 2015 and said he regretted his exchange with the Dutch news organization: "I made certain remarks in 2015 and regret the exchange during the Nieuwsuur interview".

Hoekstra served in the U.S. Congress from 1993 to 2011. He said Hoekstra also was expected to visit various Dutch communities over the weekend, including Muslim communities.

In his first news conference with reporters since being named ambassador by President Donald Trump, the former Michigan GOP lawmaker was asked no less than a half-dozen questions about a claim that he never substantiated, the Times reported.

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