Geert Wilders to face anti-Islam charges

Controversial Dutch film maker and Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders will be charged with hate-speech crimes under the strict Dutch code of law:

Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders made a controversial film last year equating Islam with violence and has likened the Koran to Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf.

"In a democratic system, hate speech is considered so serious that it is in the general interest to... draw a clear line," the court in Amsterdam said.

Mr Wilders said the judgement was an "attack on the freedom of expression".

"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 their country would be on trial, Mr Wilders warned.

"Who will stand up for our culture if I am silenced?" he added.


The three judges said that they had weighed Mr Wilders's "one-sided generalisations" against his right to free speech, and ruled that he had gone beyond the normal leeway granted to politicians.

Think what you wish about Wilders. Islamic scholars in the west have pointed to numerous inconsistencies and outright falsehoods in his film. And equating the Koran with Mein Kampf is way over the top.

But to charge someone with a crime for expressing his beliefs about a religion makes me glad we have yet to impose those kinds of restrictions on free speech in this country. Wilders is right. The judges are attacking free expression by using an arbitrary standard to determine that he is using "hate speech" and inciting people to act against Muslims.

We allow all sorts of religion bashing nutballs in this country to say what they please on the internet and elsewhere. Atheists are some of the worst offenders. The Kluxers and Nazis aren't welcome but are tolerated as long as they only spout their stupidities and don't act out against some of their targets such as Jews or Muslims. Condemn the speech if you feel strongly. But passing laws that deny someone the right to speak their mind, as many want to do in this country, would mean the death of free speech in America.

Update: Andrew Bostom responds here.