Dutch Anti-Islam Politician Won’t Be Charged

Toby Sterling, AP, June 30, 2008

Dutch legislator Geert Wilders will not be prosecuted for inciting hatred of Muslims with his film denouncing the Quran, prosecutor said Monday.

Prosecutor said his film “Fitna,” or “Ordeal” in Arabic, and statements Wilders wrote in Dutch newspapers were hurtful and insulting but not criminal.

The film juxtaposed Quranic verses against a background of violent film clips and images of terrorism by Islamic radicals. It aroused protests around the Muslim world after it was released on the Internet in March.

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“I’ve had enough of Islam in the Netherlands; let not one more Muslim immigrate,” [Wilders] wrote in the paper. “I’ve had enough of the Quran in the Netherlands: Forbid that fascist book.”

Prosecution spokeswoman Hanneke Festen said Wilders’ statements were allowable under Dutch law, which forbids inciting hatred against groups on the basis of their race or creed but also grants leeway to freedom of speech.

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Mohamed Rabbae, chairman of the moderate National Moroccan Council, said the Dutch group will go to court to ask a judge to order a prosecution of Wilders anyway.

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Wilders said he hopes prosecutors will send a copy of their decision to prosecutors in Jordan, where he faces a lawsuit. Wilders has said he is worried he could be arrested if he leaves the Netherlands because Jordan has informed Interpol he is wanted to face charges there.

[Editor’s Note: Earlier stories about Geert Wilders and his film “Fitna” are listed here.]

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