Indexed on: 15 Nov '11Published on: 15 Nov '11Published in: British Journal of Social Psychology
This study examines how Geert Wilders, leader of the far-right Party For Freedom (PVV) in the Netherlands, justifies discriminatory measures for Muslim citizens. Wilders' contributions to four parliamentary debates and newspaper articles are analysed. The analysis shows that Wilders consistently makes a distinction between Islam as a belief system and Muslims as a group of people. Islam is defined as external to the West and as a major threat to the virtuous nature of the in-group. Defending and preserving Western liberal values against Islam is construed as a moral imperative. It is further shown how the distinction between Islam and Muslims functions to ward off accusations of prejudice and discrimination. It is concluded that social psychologists studying prejudice and discrimination should pay more attention to the distinction between person categories and ideological categories, and to political leadership.