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US Ambassador to Netherlands Dodges 'No-go Zones' Questions

12 January 2018

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.

But then another reporter chimed in to chide Hoekstra for refusing to answer: "This is the Netherlands, you have to answer questions".

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. "Was that a wrong remark, was it false?"

On Thursday, reporters questioned Goldstein about the appropriateness of Hoekstra's ambassadorship in light of his performance at the news conference and additional statements beyond the 2015 conference where he appeared to spread anti-Muslim conspiracy theories. "And I'm not revisiting the issue", referring to a December 23 statement on Twitter. For instance, in 2015, Hoekstra had claimed that Muslim extremism was so rampant in his native Holland that there were "no-go zones" where cars and even politicians were "being burned".

In 2015, Hoekstra spoke at a conference hosted by a right-wing anti-terrorism group, claiming without evidence that the "Islamic movement" had brought chaos to the Netherlands.

In 2017, Hoekstra maintained that 10 or 15 percent of Muslims could be part of a "radical jihadist, Islamic force", while in 2016 he chastised former presidents Bush and Obama for calling Islam a peaceful religion, CNN reported. "If you're truly an honest and wise man, could you please take back the remark about burned politicians or name the politician that was burned in the Netherlands?"

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

On Wednesday at his new residence in The Hague, Dutch reporters repeatedly asked him to clarify if he believed local politicians had been set on fire.

"Everybody there had one question: that insane statement you made, are you going to withdraw it?" said Roel Geeraedts, a political reporter at the Dutch television station RTL Nieuws in a phone interview about the event.

"I did not say that". "That is actually an incorrect statement, we would call it "fake news", Hoekstra said. "And yes, there are no-go zones in the Netherlands", Hoekstra says in the clip. "Chaos in the Netherlands".

During the exchange on Wednesday, which was captured on video, the ambassador fell silent as a series of reporters continued to query him, drawing a slew of critical headlines in the Netherlands and coverage across the world.

"I made certain remarks in 2015 and regret the exchange during the Nieuwsuur interview", he said in a statement. "Please accept my apology", he wrote.

US Ambassador to Netherlands Dodges 'No-go Zones' Questions