After drubbing by media, ambassador to the Netherlands apologizes for anti-Muslim remarks
In 2015, Peter Hoekstra said cars and politicians were being burned in the Netherlands due to the “Islamic movement.”
Eli Rosenberg and Amar NadhirWashington Post
Embattled U.S. Ambassador to the Netherlands Peter Hoekstra apologized Friday for making unsubstantiated anti-Muslim claims at a conference in 2015, comments that have clouded his early days in his post after reporters confronted him about them.
Hoekstra, a former Republican congressman from Michigan and recent political appointee, made the apology during an interview Friday with De Telegraaf, one of the largest Dutch newspapers, at the end of a particularly rough week for the new ambassador.
"Looking back, I am shocked I said that," he told the newspaper Friday. "It was a wrong statement. It was wrong."
Hoekstra made the remarks in question in 2015 during a conference on terrorism, talking about the supposed "chaos" brought to Europe by immigrants from Islamic countries and repeating a baseless nostrum about so-called "no-go zones" that is popular in right-wing media.
"Chaos in the Netherlands. There are cars being burned. There are politicians that are being burned," Hoekstra said at the time. "With the influx of the Islamic community - and yes, there are no-go zones in the Netherlands. All right? There are no-go zones in France."
Hoekstra said that he couldn't recall what his remark was based on.
"I mixed up countries. I was wrong. I can't recall how that could happen. I know: I was wrong," he said.