Dutch politician calls for "fewer Moroccans"

AMSTERDAM (AP) — Dutch populist politician Geert Wilders says "the fewer Moroccans the better" in the Netherlands.

Wilders, known internationally for his anti-Islam stances, elaborated on his anti-Moroccan feelings in an interview with national broadcaster NOS Friday.

"I say that because (Moroccans) are heavily overrepresented in criminality and welfare dependency," he said.

Wilders' Freedom party is expected to book gains in municipal elections next week and in European elections in May. But its popularity has slipped recently against its largest right-wing rival, the VVD party of Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

Wilders' rise to popularity in the 2000s came amid a surge of anti-immigrant sentiment in a country once famed for its tolerance. In 2011 he was acquitted of hate speech charges for remarks including a call for a ban on the Quran."