Michigan GOP Chair Pete Hoekstra works for anti-Muslim institute that warned of “Great White Death” from Muslim immigrants

Hoekstra said he’s a fan of Geert Wilders, a leading anti-Muslim figure

While serving as chair of the Michigan Republican Party, Pete Hoekstra has also been working for the anti-Muslim Gatestone Institute, which has posted commentaries suggesting that Muslims are incompatible with the West, declaring “Islam is a Problem,” and claiming Europe may be facing “Great White Death” because of Muslim immigrants.

Hoekstra himself has used his Gatestone Institute position to praise Geert Wilders, a far-right Dutch politician and leading anti-Muslim figure. The Michigan GOP chair also wrote that he has “often met” with Wilders, who he claimed is devoted to “religious tolerance.” (Wilders has claimed, among other things, that “Islam is not a religion”). 

Hoekstra is a former member of Congress and Trump administration ambassador who was elected the Michigan GOP chair earlier this year after a bizarre power struggle ousted far-right commentator Kristina Karamo. (Karamo has her own history of anti-Muslim remarks.) He has been a distinguished senior fellow at the Gatestone Institute since at least 2022. He has written dozens of pieces for the organization since 2021 and has continued to write for Gatestone since he assumed the Michigan GOP chair. 

Observers have documented the Gatestone Institute’s anti-Muslim rhetoric. Reporter Heidi Przybyla wrote an April 2018 piece for NBC News that noted the institute “has promoted misleading and false anti-Muslim news.” The piece quoted then-Brookings Institution fellow Alina Polyakova, who “said Gatestone is ‘putting out content that was clearly anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim and was echoing some of the Russian disinformation propaganda’ being spread by internet trolls and on social media.” Przybyla added that “Gatestone has been a significant promoter of the disputed notion that ‘no-go zones’ exist in the heart of major cities where Muslims rule by Shariah law.” 

The New York Times wrote in a piece about the far-right that the Gatestone is “a think tank whose site regularly stokes fears about Muslims in the United States and Europe.” The Washington Post wrote that the organization “has raised fears about Muslims in Europe, sometimes through claims that have been debunked.” 

Gatestone has disputed its characterization as anti-Muslim.

Hoekstra has himself promoted the “no-go zones” claim. CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski reported in 2018 that Hoekstra “repeatedly made unsubstantiated claims about the nature of Muslim communities in Europe and pushed a hardline view of Islam, a KFile review of his public appearances and writings shows.” He added: 

A KFile review of Hoekstra’s time with the group reveals he claimed on multiple occasions that there are “no-go zones” in European cities and speculated as much as 15% of Muslims are extremists, a number that totals 270 million. He also promoted conspiracy theories asserting longtime Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin had connections to the Muslim Brotherhood and said he considered the possibility that then-President Barack Obama was allowing radical Islam to proliferate on purpose.

Hoekstra was also a frequent guest on a radio program hosted by Frank Gaffney, an anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist based in Washington who warns of the “creeping” influence of Sharia law worldwide.

As ambassador to the Netherlands, Hoekstra falsely denied pushing the “no-go” zones claim despite footage showing that he did it. He also hosted “an event for the far-right Forum for Democracy party” at the American embassy in 2020 and “appeared on an episode of an online video series published by the FvD, in which he discussed U.S.-China relations” with its leader, Thierry Baudet.  

Gatestone’s website has posted numerous anti-Islam and anti-Muslim pieces. For instance:

  • A 2021 piece titled “Germany's Multicultural Suicide” promoted the racist “great replacement” conspiracy theory, stating: “‘The principle of equality also applies to religion in a democratic society’, explained Mayor Thomas Jühe. Then there is the question of demographics: 70% of Raunheim's population are migrants. ‘Here we have more Muslims than Christians’, Jühe said. Despite this, they say that the ‘Great Replacement’ and the Islamization of Europe are just conspiracy theories. Have we really understood what the Europe of tomorrow will be like?”
  • A 2017 Gatestone piece, as noted by Przybyla, warned that Europe may be facing a “Great White Death.” That article then warned readers about the increase of the Muslim population in Europe as a threat to the continent. 
  • The organization has posted content suggesting that Muslims are incompatible with the West. A 2023 piece, for instance, stated: “Many Muslims, or at least a significant proportion of them, seem to have no intention of integrating, or of discarding the values they brought with them, which they appear to prefer to Western values.”
  • The organization has frequently featured commentary from anti-Muslim leader Geert Wilders. Sample headlines include: “Geert Wilders: ‘In My Opinion, Islam Is Not a Religion’”; “Let's Lock The Door To Islam”; and “Stop Denying the Obvious: Islam is a Problem.” 

Hoekstra personally praised Wilders in a 2022 Gatestone piece. Without any apparent sense of irony, he wrote: “Wilders has dedicated his life to supporting freedom of speech and religious tolerance, and pointing out problems in radical, violent Islamist extremism.” The Michigan GOP chair also said that he has often met with Wilders. 

Wilders has dedicated his life to supporting freedom of speech and religious tolerance, and pointing out problems in radical, violent Islamist extremism. Because of this, he has been the target of frequent death threats by Islamist leaders. There are many who appear to prefer religious conformity, restricted speech and often the death penalty for what they might consider blasphemy.

As for this author, born in the Netherlands, it was always a particular pleasure for many years, while serving as a member of the US Congress, to meet with political visitors from the Netherlands to the US. A special one, with whom I often met, is Wilders.


As Wilders receives still new fatwas, we would do well recognize the price that he and others have paid for expressing their points of view. As the powers that be continue clamping down on the free speech we all should cherish, we must recognize the value and strength that people like Wilders, and even those who burn flags, bring to the public square. We may or may not agree with their views, but should recognize that through their freedom of expression they enrich the debate and discourse. They make us stronger, not weaker.

As ambassador, Hoekstra also quoted Wilders’ statement that “our freedom, our way of life, our culture, and national security are at stake and heavily under attack” during a February 2019 speech.