Dutch MP Geert Wilders to be prosecuted for criticising Islam.
A Dutch court has ordered the prosecution of Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders for ‘inciting hatred and discrimination’ against Muslims. The charges relate to Fitna, a film (censored in the UK) he made last year in which he compared the Qur’an to Hitler’s Mein Kampf and drew a direct link between Islam and violence. The film juxtaposed images of the September 11th attacks with quotations from the Qur’an. This, apparently, is not acceptable, notwithstanding that the perpetrators of this evil were professing Muslims and justified their atrocity with appeals to the Qur’an, and flew into the Twin Towers with ‘Allahu Akhbar’ on their lips.
May one not state this as a matter of historical fact?
Dutch film maker Theo van Gogh was also murdered by a radical Dutch Muslim who left qur’anic quotes stabbed into his chest. His co-producer on the project, Somali-born former Dutch lawmaker Ayaan Hirsi Ali, lived under government protection for several years after van Gogh's killing. She now lives in the United States.
May one not state this as a matter of historical fact?
The film also includes images of other terror attacks; bloodied victims; beheadings of hostages; executions of women; and footage, with subtitles, of Muslim leaders preaching inflammatory sermons against Jews and Christians.
Mr Wilders is simply of the view that in 1945, Nazism was defeated in Europe; in 1989, communism was defeated in Europe; and in now Islamic ideology has to be defeated.
He has called the decision to prosecute him for making a film about this view ‘an attack on the freedom of expression’.
And he is not wrong.
This will be a defining trial of the age. It will polarise communities, divide the Netherlands, and the eyes of the world shall be upon the European Union as it wrestles with the seismic consequences of whatever verdict is delivered.
Mr Wilders has not criticised individual Muslims, or defamed Mohammed, or blasphemed against Allah (directly). But what if he had? Is one no longer free to pour scorn upon a god in whom one does not believe, mock a prophet one deems to be false, or question an ideology one considers repugnant? Can you imagine Elijah being prosecuted for mocking the prophets of Baal? Does not the assertion of the supremacy of one God over the pantheon of others necessitate the humiliation of these false gods and idols? Is not the very choice to follow one particular faith over another an act of ‘discrimination’?
Islam is not a race, but a religio-political ideology. And now it appears that a Dutch MP – a citizen of the EU – may be prosecuted for daring to criticise an ideology.
This decision will have every member of the BNP wringing their hands with glee, and leave every libertarian of moderate political persuasion profoundly perplexed. Doubtless no British MP will dare to comment on this story at all (not even those who profess to be immensely concerned about the erosion of liberties) for fear of inciting the BNP to excessive gloating or of offending the UK’s Muslim population and thereby losing their votes with two elections imminent.
Geert Wilders called the Qur'an a ‘fascist book’.
This is apparently a crime; specifically that of inciting racial hatred.
Cranmer would like to know why those Muslims who refer to the Holy Bible as flawed and full of lies have not been similarly prosecuted for inciting racial hatred.
Ahh – Christianity is not a race, but Islam is.
Cranmer does not wish to trivialise the pain which Mr Wilders may have caused to many Muslims. But they live in a liberal democracy, in a European Union which enshrines the principle of freedom of expression in its Charter on Human Rights, and no-one has the right not to be offended.
Not even Muslims.
Many may consider Mr Wilders to be as odious as Nick Griffin, but neither is involved in anything illegal. While the BNP exists on the fringe of the political extremities and has indeed been found to be fundamentally racist, the Dutch Freedom Party is a democratic organisation with nine MPs. Mr Wilders' film may be painful for Muslims, but it is not criminal.
However, the court's three judges said they had weighed Mr Wilders' ‘anti-Islamic rhetoric’ against his right to free speech, and they have ruled he has gone ‘beyond the normal leeway given to politicians’. By attacking the symbols of the Muslim religion, they say ‘he also insulted Muslim believers’.
No parliamentary privilege there, then.
The judges have said that while the Netherlands is ‘generally liberal’, they are ‘making an exception in the case of Wilders' comments about Islam’. Their statement is illuminating: ‘The court considers appropriate criminal prosecution for insulting Muslim worshippers because of comparisons between Islam and Nazism made by Wilders.’
In observation of the increasing general acceptance of expressions of anti-Semitism in society, it is curious that a British MP may compare the actions of Israel (=’Jews’?) to those of Nazis and do so with impunity, but a Dutch MP who dares to equate Islam with Nazism is hauled before the courts.
Surely the EU needs to ‘harmonise’ this inconsistency?
It appears that the court is only acting because it has received nine (yes, nine) complaints from citizens over the prosecution service's refusal to press charges against Mr Wilders for his ‘anti-Islamic statements’. There is a fear that their non-response might spark riots and civil unrest.
This is curious. Cranmer did not know that the courts were subject to the common cry of curs.
Mr Wilders has said on his website:
"Participation in the public debate has become a dangerous activity. If you give your opinion, you risk being prosecuted."
He said not only he, but all Dutch citizens opposed to the ‘Islamisation’ of the Netherlands will be on trial.
"Who will stand up for our culture if I am silenced?"
Make no mistake about it, this is a founding nation of the EU limiting freedom of expression by appealing to a notion of blasphemy, under the pretext of preventing civil strife. The only religion which is being protected in law is Islam. Cranmer has previously observed this development in the UK.
If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do? (Ps 11:3).