United States envoy clashes with Dutch reporters in 'no-go areas' row

US Ambassador to Netherlands Clashes with Dutch Reporters Over Remarks About Muslims

Hoekstra's first false comments were made in 2015, in which the former MI congressman said the "Islamic movement" has sent Europe into "chaos", adding that cars and politicians were being burned inside the Netherlands.

In 2015, Hoekstra had referred to "no-go zones" in the Netherlands, wrongly suggesting there were Muslim-ruled enclaves outside the government's control.

Mr Hoekstra is a former Republican congressman from MI who was born in the Netherlands.

Trouble erupted Wednesday when the new envoy refused to answer questions from Dutch reporters about his claims that Dutch Muslims had engaged in "burning cars and politicians".

At least one more journalist fired the question off. Reporters had asked the question at least five times.

"I issued a statement, I expressed my regrets, and my apology for the comments that I made, and I'm not revisiting the issue", Hoekstra said, and then looked in another direction, in attempt to take another question.

The theory of lawless Muslim "no-go zones" run by sharia courts and forbidden to police and outsiders in Europe has been fanned on right-wing media, and found prominence on Fox News shows hosted by Jeanine Pirro and Sean Hannity in recent years, despite a lack of evidence.

He has also suggested that former president Barrack Obama may have been aiding the rise of radical Islam on objective, the CNN report said.

He added: "Chaos in the Netherlands - there are cars being burned".

"This is the Netherlands, you have to answer questions", said another.

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Hoekstra simply responded by saying, "Thank you".

I submit that the USA media's fact-checking industry is pretty robust and that we have our share of confrontational news conferences, too.

Hoekstra has been in hot water in the Netherlands for the remarks since he was first confronted by a Dutch journalist, Wouter Zwart, in December.

RTL political correspondent Roel Geeraedts, told the Washington Post in a telephone interview: 'We were all astonished he did not want to take back the comment.

Pete Hoekstra addresses the press at the embassy.

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.

When asked about the same comments by the Dutch news program Nieuwsuur in December, Hoekstra denied having made the statements, calling it "fake news".

He takes up the post as United States 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.

The reporters failed to play along, though, with one quickly asking, "Will you be visiting our "no-go areas"?"

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