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Death to Free Speech in the Netherlands

Death to Free Speech in the Netherlands

Is a film that quotes the Koran and depicts angry Imams considered "hate speech"?


On Wednesday, freedom of speech in Europe took a new and devastating turn, as a Dutch appellate court ordered the prosecution of Geert Wilders, parliamentarian and filmmaker, charging him with "inciting hatred and discrimination" against Muslims for his film exposing the threat of radical Islam.

This ruling comes a mere six months after the public prosecutor's office found Wilders' dialogue contributed to the debate on Islam and that he had not committed any criminal offense. Now, curiously, the court has done an about-face and decreed that charges may be brought against the politician, and that prosecuting him is somehow in "the public interest."

The Imams who routinely spout hate speech from the pulpit are never themselves charged with incitement to immediate violence.

After releasing a ten-minute self-produced film entitled "Fitna," Wilders found himself wound up in a litany of "hate speech" litigation, one such suit filed by a radical Imam asking for 55,000 Euros in compensation for his hurt feelings. Ironically, the film's narrative is primarily comprised of quotes from the Koran which incite violence and death to "infidels" as well as scenes of an Imam preaching death to the Jews. Akin to something out of the Twilight Zone, the Imams who routinely spout hate speech from the pulpit and who are instigating these suits are never themselves charged with incitement to immediate violence. Moreover if the film "Fitna," which merely quotes the Koran and depicts angry Imams, is "hate speech," then what is the Koran itself?

Suspiciously, the wording of the appellate court's ruling strongly echoes public criticism made by the 57-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) when the earlier prosecution was dropped, where the OIC censured prosecutors for ignoring the "thin line separating freedom of speech and the instigation of hatred, animosity and discrimination."

Even more disturbing is that the State of Jordan, most likely acting as a stalking horse for the OIC, has issued a request for Wilders' extradition to stand trial in Jordan for blasphemy of Islam, a crime for which Shari'a law declares the penalty to be death. The Dutch parliament has taken the extradition request very seriously, and has shut out Wilders from all multi-lateral negotiations. As a precaution, Wilders no longer travels abroad unless he can obtain a diplomatic letter from the destination state promising he won't be extradited. For years now, Wilders has lived under looming death threats complemented by the threat that any day, Interpol might issue a warrant for his arrest at Jordan's behest.

Mistakenly, Wilders had thought that his own country remained true to democratic ideals, despite cases such as that of the cartoonist Gregorious Nekschot, who was arrested on May 13, 2008, by Dutch police for the criminal offense of "publishing cartoons which are discriminating for Muslims and people with dark skin."

The very notion that a judge could weigh a man's freedom of speech against what the court construed as "one-sided generalizations" is an absurd and dangerous misrepresentation of the very concept of free speech. However, that pales in comparison to the fact that a democratically elected and sitting member of government is going to be prosecuted for a thought crime for speaking to his constituents about matters of national security. In Iran dissidents are routinely arrested for holding opposing political views. Now we are seeing the same tactics being employed in Europe, but this time, enacted by Western governments at the behest of Islamist groups and against their own citizens.

If Geert Wilders is tried and sentenced, it will establish the precedent Islamists have been striving for.

Wilders' "crime" is what the OIC has been working to criminalize on a global level through the United Nations, while advocating the punishment of Westerners who speak out against radical Islam, terrorism, and its sources of financing. It is clear that the OIC's successes in the United Nations -- where the General Assembly passed its "Combating Defamation of Religions" resolution last year -- are already resulting in direct action.

This is no victory for the Netherlands, or for anyone -- save the OIC and Islamo-fascists. The damage being done to free speech, however, is a defeat that will be felt everywhere. When members of a democratic country's legislature can be arrested and tried for expressing ideas that some find objectionable, that country's status as a free and fair democracy is in serious doubt. But while the Dutch will have to come to grips with their government's abject failure to uphold basic principles of human rights, the leaders of other nations must take notice as well.

The OIC has power and influence, and "hate speech" laws provide an extremely malleable tool to silence critics of radical Islam -- even if you are a member of a parliament, or indeed, perhaps, eventually, a member of Congress. Whatever pressure may be brought on the Netherlands to counteract the OIC's influence must be brought to bear. For if Geert Wilders is tried and sentenced, it will establish the precedent Islamists have been striving for -- and one day, none of us will be free to speak out against them.

This article originally appeared in the American Spectator.

January 24, 2009

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Visitor Comments: 14

(14) Wizzard, March 1, 2009 6:37 AM

Islamification of Europe

Only a few more years to go and Europe will be totally Islamified. They will have no more freedoms, and self inflicted erosion of all their ‘rights’ will be complete. Their forefathers fought and died for the freedoms which they not only took for granted, but also simply gave away. Europe is allowing itself to sink into the quagmire of a medieval religious mindset, and fully deserve the coming ‘hell’ that will be forced upon you ! Stop prosecuting those sane members of society that are trying to warn you of impending danger/s.

(13) MB, January 29, 2009 12:13 PM

Hate Speech

Where do you think the so called hate speech laws of this country are heading. Laws that make it a crime to speak against a state protected segment of society go directly against the constitution. We are all in a new PC world.

(12) Marlene, January 28, 2009 2:08 PM

Injustice to Geert Wilder

This story seems like it is a science fiction movie...I cannot believe that people are incarcerated due to a cartoon...and now they want to punish a truthful film maker...Something very wrong with this picture, and the wimps in the Netherlands, allowing this to happen

(11) Chaim, January 28, 2009 5:58 AM

it is realy bad..

I'm a Jew from Amsterdam and I'm confronted every day with antisemitism and hatred of freedom. After Israel chose to defend itself I have been insulted and threatend twice. Also there have been demonstrations by muslims who have called for gassing the Jews. Ironically these people have not been percecuted. Holland indeed is becoming a very dangerous country for Jews and I urge all my fellow Jews here to move as soon as possible. I'm trying to get money together as fast as possible and move to Israel. Geert has my sympathy since he keeps on fighting for the good here in Holland, may G-d bless him and grant him wisdom.

(10) Frank N. Stein, January 26, 2009 4:16 AM

Masha, great idea! Why didn't anyone think of that before? Take them to court, let's see how they try to defend violent incitement against "infidels" and Jews and America etc. What are they going to say? "It's our creed, so you should tolerate it"? I don't think so.

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