Wednesday, 17 October, 2018

Trump's new Netherlands envoy sheds no light on 'Muslim chaos' comment

US Ambassador to Netherlands Clashes with Dutch Reporters Over Remarks About Muslims Hoekstra silent over inaccurate Muslim claims on 1st day as US ambassador to Netherlands
Kenny Thornton | 12 January, 2018, 03:20

The new USA ambassador to the Netherlands made mistakes and feels great remorse for falsely saying two years ago that Muslim migrants had "burned" politicians and created "no-go zones" in Holland, a State Department official said on Thursday.

In Hoekstra's comments in 2015, he said areas of the country had been marked "no-go zones" because of terrorism and that "there are politicians that are being burnt".

Hoekstra, who was born in Groningen and moved to the United States at the age of two, is a staunch conservative who opposes gay marriage and abortion and is pro the death penalty.

According to video from the press conference, it was ended as a person offscreen says, "If you don't have any further questions".

"There are cars being burned, there are politicians that are being burned", he had said at a conference hosted by a conservative group.

"I'm not revisiting the issue", Hoekstra said Wednesday.

The US ambassador to the Netherlands is to meet Dutch Muslims after his arrival was clouded by his claim that the country is troubled by Islamist violence and no-go zones.

He takes up the post as U.S. envoy left vacant for two years, and as immigration is set to again be a hot-button issue in the Dutch local elections due on March 21. When pressed by the Dutch reporters, Hoekstra declined to retract the comments or give specific examples to back them up.

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Asked whether the State Department agreed with Hoekstra's comments on the security situation and the place of Muslims in Dutch society, Goldstein said it did not.

Video of the weird exchange, juxtaposed with his "no-go zone" remarks, went viral, and the episode drew a slew of critical headlines in the United States and the Netherlands.

Hoekstra said in 2015: "The Islamic movement has now gotten to a point where they have put Europe into chaos". "Yeah, we would call it fake news".

First asked about his comments by a Dutch reporter in December, Hoekstra denied making the statements, dismissing them as fake news.

Hoekstra issued his statement via Twitter shortly before Christmas, saying he "made certain remarks in 2015 and regret the exchange during the Nieuwsuur interview".

The other was the US media.

Hoekstra said he hoped to begin in-depth briefings with Dutch officials on the U.S. perspectives on issues both countries face, including counter-terrorism and cyber threats.

Footage of Wednesday's news conference shows Hoekstra taking questions from journalists who asked several times if Hoekstra was wrong about cars and politicians being burned.

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