Dutch Populist Geert Wilders Acquitted of Hate Speech

Gilber Kreijger and Aaron Gray-Block, Reuters, June 23, 2011

Dutch populist politician Geert Wilders was acquitted of inciting hatred of Muslims in a court ruling on Thursday that may strengthen his political influence and exacerbate tensions over immigration policy.

The case was seen by some as a test of free speech in a country which has a long tradition of tolerance and blunt talk, but where opposition to immigration, particularly from Muslim or predominantly Muslim countries, is on the rise.

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His Freedom Party is now the third-largest in parliament, a measure of support for its anti-immigrant stance, and is the minority government’s chief ally. But many of Wilders’ comments–such as likening Islam to Nazism–are socially divisive.

The presiding judge said Wilders’s remarks were sometimes “hurtful,” “shocking” or “offensive,” but that they were made in the context of a public debate about Muslim integration and multi-culturalism, and therefore not a criminal act.

“I am extremely pleased and happy,” Wilders told reporters after the ruling. “This is not so much a win for myself, but a victory for freedom of speech. Fortunately you can criticize Islam and not be gagged in public debate.”

{snip}

“The acquittal means that the right of minorities to remain free of hate speech has been breached. We are going to claim our rights at the U.N.,” said Mohamed Rabbae of the National Council for Moroccans.

Wilders, who has received numerous death threats and has to live under 24-hour guard, argued that he was exercising his right to freedom of speech when criticizing Islam.

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  • E Pluribus Pluribus

    Our choice: freedom of speech? Or multiculturalism (made inevitable by mass immigration of disparate peoples)?

    “Free speech among people with little in common can easily cause someone to take offense. For the sake of keeping peace, some people will say ‘we must limit free speech.’ European countries and Canada, influenced by multiculturalism, have already moved in this direction. We Americans still enjoy legally protected free speech, but for how long? We must make a choice. We can have the multiculturalism made inevitable by mass immigration, or we can have freedom. But we can’t have both.”*

    *”Mass Immigration and Basic Freedoms” by John Vinson of the American Immigration Control Foundation http://goo.gl/yxJjz

  • Anonymous

    When he goes to the UN to reclaim his “rights” make sure to revoke his entry visa!!!

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the link E Pluribus Pluribus. Not so many posting here because it is not so sensational, no sex, crime, etc. But this is a very important issue. We already have thought control in the U.S. due to Hate Crime legislation. How far will we allow our basic rights to be eroded?

    Geert Wilders is an international hero.

  • Anonymous

    The Netherlands is so small. I lived there for a couple months in 1997. This is the place where the European fate will be determined.

  • kgb

    1 — E Pluribus Pluribus wrote at 6:20 PM on June 23:

    Our choice: freedom of speech? Or multiculturalism (made inevitable by mass immigration of disparate peoples)?

    Anyone who thinks about it for more than a few minutes will realize that the only reason the Founding Fathers could have opted for Free Speech is that all those who would benefit from that right were from the same race and held the same core beliefs and values.

  • RVT

    I certainly hope that Europe’s fate is determined by the Netherlands, as they’re officially abandoning multiculturalism.

    http://goo.gl/IQF4o

  • Question Diversity

    In making the rounds yesterday and today to my favorite news and commentary sources on the internet, I repeatedly read a five-word phrase which says it all about what Wilders faced:

    The process is the punishment.

    “The acquittal means that the right of minorities to remain free of hate speech has been breached. We are going to claim our rights at the U.N.,” said Mohamed Rabbae of the National Council for Moroccans.

    There is an can be no such right. But if you think there is, there is a place for Moroccans to bask in such a “right” — Morocco.

    Wilders, who has received numerous death threats and has to live under 24-hour guard

    Thereby proving his point.