Geert Wilders, the anti-Islam Dutch politician, is set to address like-minded Germans in October, triggering criticism Thursday in Berlin, with city Christian Democrats saying they may expel a politician who invited Wilders to the German capital.
Rene Stadtkewitz, a Christian Democratic deputy in the legislature of Berlin state, was unrepentant over his invitation to Wilders. He said they would meet October 2 to share views on how to fight political Islam. He gave no details of any public appearances.
The Christian Democratic Union (CDU) of Chancellor Angela Merkel is an opposition party in the Berlin regional legislature. The city and suburbs constitutes one of Germany’s 16 states.
Frank Henkel, caucus leader of the city CDU, said he would expel Stadtkewitz from the caucus if he did not call off the Wilders visit. “I won’t cancel the invitation to Wilders. That would go against my fundamental political convictions,” Stadtkewitz responded.
Stadtkewitz resigned his CDU party membership in 2009 in protest at a fellow member who has built bridges with city Muslims, but remains a member of the CDU caucus in the state legislature. He has campaigned against plans to build the newest mosque in the city. He has charged that the Merkel party is “too soft and too tolerant” towards “violence-prone, radical Muslims.”