Wilders trial begins

The trial of Geert Wilders for “inciting hatred and discrimination” against Muslims and non-Western immigrants began today in the Netherlands. It was a one-day session, broadcast on Dutch TV, the purpose of which was to set up the procedures for the actual trial which will commence on February 3. I have heard from a source that Wilders will bring forth 17 witnesses, and that the prosecution intends to have only one witness—Wilders himself. Apparently the prosecution believes that Wilders’s many statements about Islam are so obviously in violation of the law prohibiting the “incitement of discrimination” against protected groups that no other evidence is needed. And there I must admit that the prosecutors have a point. If you pass a law declaring that it is a crime to say that Islam is dangerous, then anyone who says that Islam is dangerous is a criminal. Anyone who speaks the truth about Islam’s calls to war against non-Muslims, indeed, anyone who simply quotes the Koran’s calls to war against non-Muslims, as Wilders does in the movie Fitna, is a criminal

Wilders seeks to reverse the entire premise of the law and to show that it’s Islam that should be on trial, not he.

Could anything be more hideously ironic than that a man who has lived constantly surrounded by security guards for the last five years to protect him from Muslim assassins is the one on trial for his supposed crimes against Muslims?

Could anything be more hideously ironic than that the Dutch government is trying to put in prison the man who just happens to be the leader of the opposition party and the most popular political figure in the country?

I will have much more to say about the Wilders trial in the coming weeks. But for now, just this. The more the Dutch government hear from people around the world who are disgusted by their persecution of a politician for speaking his mind about an issue that is vital to the Netherlands and to Western civilization as a whole, the more likely it becomes that they will back off their attempt to imprison Wilders. The Dutch government do not want to be despised. We have to tell them that they are making themselves despicable.

- end of initial entry -

January 21

Hannon writes:

Regarding your point about writing to the Dutch government about the trial of Wilders, I just sent this letter to the Dutch Consulate in Los Angeles:

I am dismayed that the government of The Netherlands, one of the premier free nations in the world, has decided to enact “hate speech” legislation in an attempt to cope with growing social disorder. It is disheartening that this could happen in a country that has been a bastion of liberty for centuries.

And now your courts are testing this law on one who is in fact a victim of those who should be on the sharp end of it, the Dutch Moslems. They have murdered and threatened their fellow non-Moslem citizens in conspicuous fashion yet your government has seen fit to set upon one of its own best statesmen and ambassadors of common sense.

Mr. Geert Wilders deserves the support of his own government. He has not earned its persecution or prosecution. His choice to use free speech to identify a principal source of very serious domestic unrest in Holland should be examined closely. Political correctness aside, can you afford to ignore his warnings? At what cost will your great country accommodate the “multiculturalism” that you so proudly display to the world?

I urge you to act to repeal the relevant laws and thereby demonstrate genuine tolerance—a tolerance of all free speech and of the complaints of those who will take offense at this same speech. You can have freedom in this regard, or you can make your country into a prison. You cannot do both.


Posted by Lawrence Auster at January 20, 2010 08:06 PM | Send

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