A group of Dutch politicians, celebrities, and many other prominent Dutch came together and launched an appeal to the public on the cover of Dutch Newspaper Trouw, calling out for more respect and tolerance in 2008.
While they did not directly criticize right wing extremist politician Geert Wilders in their statement, their initiative is nevertheless regarded as a direct attempt to counteract the "Wilderisation" of Dutch society, because Wilders' anti-Islam campaign has been having a tremendous adverse effect on the political debate in The Netherlands.
Of course Geert Wilders had to add his own spin to the appeal. He simply dismissed the group as "dhimmis", calling them "foolish and naive", saying that "Islam does not deserve respect, but must be fiercely fought against as an intolerant and fascist ideology,"
Those who signed the appeal in Wednesday's paper claim that "the socio-political debate regarding the multicultural coexistence has become rigid. Serious, complicated issues are oversimplified and turned into unnuanced and polarizing oneliners. This does not solve any problems, it makes them worse instead. This is exactly how The Netherlands gets caught up in a downward spiral of intolerance and indifference."