In a surprise twist the Amsterdam Court of Appeal reached the decision that Geert Wilders should be prosecuted for his statements on islam in general and his comparison of the Quran with Hitler’s Mein Kampf in particular.
On 21 January 2009 the Court of Appeal in Amsterdam ordered the criminal prosecution of the member of parliament Geert Wilders for the incitement to hatred and discrimination based on his statements in various media about moslims and their belief. In addition, the Court of Appeal considers criminal prosecution obvious for the insult of Islamic worshippers because of the comparisons made by Wilders of the islam with the nazism.
The Court of Appeal rendered judgment as a consequence of a number of complaints about the non-prosecution of Wilders for his statements in various media about moslims and their belief. The complainants did not agree with the decision of the public prosecution which decided not to give effect to their report against Wilders.
The public prosecution is of the view, amongst others, that part of the statements of Wilders do not relate to a group of worshippers, but consists of criticism as regards the Islamic belief, as a result of which neither the self-esteem of this group of worshippers is affected nor is this group brought into discredit. Some statements of Wilders can be regarded as offending, but since these were made (outside the Dutch Second Chamber) as a contribution to a social debate there is no longer a ground for punishableness of those statements according to the public prosecution.
The Court of Appeal does not agree with this view of the public prosecution and the considerations which form the basis of this view.
The Court of Appeal concludes that the way in which the public debate about controversial issues is held, such as the immigration and integration debate, does not fall within the ambit of the law in principle indeed, but the situation changes when fundamental boundaries are exceeded. Then criminal law does appear as well.
So, in this once free country we can have a ‘free’ discussion, until a ‘fundamental boundary’ is exceeded? And where does that boundary lie? And more importantly: Who determines that boundary. Is that still us, or is that the highly volatile muslim sensitivities with regards to anything that makes this country ours? This is arbitrary law at its worst.
My God, what is this country coming to…
[UPDATE001] De Telegraaf: Shocked Wilders: A Black Day (NL):
This is a very black day for me and for the freedom of expression. I am shocked. I absolutely did not expect this.
[UPDATE002] What muppets on the benches of the Amsterdam Court of Appeals? From the ruling (emphases mine – KV):
The Court of Appeal has considered that the contested views of Wilders (also as shown in his movie Fitna) constitute a criminal offence according to Dutch law as seen in connection with each other, both because of their contents and the method of presentation. This method of presentation is characterized by biased, strongly generalizing phrasings with a radical meaning, ongoing reiteration and an increasing intensity, as a result of which hate is created. According to the Court of Appeal most statements are insulting as well since these statements substantially harm the religious esteem of the Islamic worshippers. According to the Court of Appeal Wilders has indeed insulted the Islamic worshippers themselves by affecting the symbols of the Islamic belief as well.
So, what are they saying here? That Wilders is to be prosecuted for the hateful, extremist crap spouted by those imams featured in Fitna? They can’t be serious, can they?
[UPDATE003] EN reporting of (political) reactions at Dutchnews.nl.
[UPDATE004] Elsevier has the reaction of Vlaams Belangs Filip DeWinter (NL):
The procedure against Wilders is attempted murder on a democratic party.
In the comments Richard Hartman elaborates:
The state has bottomless pockets, Wilders does not. Once Wilders is bankrupt, his party will be gone: objective achieved. Even if the state would lose, and have to pay damages to Wilders, he’d have to start from scratch again.
The government is now actively engaging in lawfare, it would seem.
[UPDATE005] Via Jihad Watch: Petition in support of Geert Wilders. Here. Also: All it took to get Wilders prosecuted were nine ‘good’ people. Lastly, again from Jihad Watch: Geert Wilders to be prosecuted for agreeing with Churchill about Islam.
[UPDATE006] GoV has more on one of the miscreants behind the decision to prosecute.
[UPDATE007] Posted before, but bears repeating: The Qu’ran vs. Mein Kampf.
[UPDATE008] Excellent commentary in the Wall Street Journal:
This is no small victory for Islamic regimes seeking to export their censorship laws to wherever Muslims reside. But the successful integration of Muslims in Europe will require that immigrants adapt to Western norms, not vice versa. Limiting the Dutch debate of Islam to standards acceptable in, say, Saudi Arabia, will only shore up support for Mr. Wilders’s argument that Muslim immigration is eroding traditional Dutch liberties.
[UPDATE009] Ezra Levant weighs in: Holland’s national suicide note.
[Y]ou must admire the honesty of the court to describe their self-destructive, amoral attack on Wilders so clearly and without euphemism. There you have it: his “views” were unacceptable in content and presentation.