Geert Wilders acquitted of 'hate speech'

A court in the Netherlands has acquitted free speech advocate and political leader Geert Wilders of inciting hatred of Muslims. The ruling is likely to strengthen Wilder politically while expanding the national conversation over Muslim integration into Dutch society: "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." The ruling could embolden Wilders further. He has already won concessions from the government on cutting immigration and introducing a ban on Muslim face veils and burqas. "This means that his political views are condoned by law, his political rhetoric has been legalized," said Andre Krouwel, a political scientist at Amsterdam's Free University. "This has made him stronger politically. He is needed for a political majority, he is basically vice prime minister without even being in the...(Read Full Post)