Thursday, June 23, 2011

Geert Wilders Acquitted; Courts Rule He Acted Within Rights of Freedom of Speech

Geert Wilders, a Dutch Freedom Party Leader, has been acquitted of defaming Muslims today.
More from Bloomberg:
Wilders, 47, was charged with inciting hatred and discrimination and insulting Muslims for calling the Koran “fascist” and comparing it to Adolf Hitler’s book “Mein Kampf” in a 2007 Dutch newspaper editorial. A year later, he released his movie “Fitna,” in which he urged Muslims to rip out “hate-preaching” verses from the book.

“You have spoken in a hurtful and also shocking way,” Presiding Judge Marcel van Oosten said in the Amsterdam district court today. Even so, “the court finds, in the broadest context, that you have to be able to propagate the message of such a film.”

The movie led to protests in Islamic-majority countries including Indonesia and Pakistan and prompted Malaysians to call for a boycott of products from the euro area’s second largest exporter. Wilders, whose party backs the minority Dutch coalition government, has been under constant police protection since a Muslim radical murdered filmmaker Theo van Gogh in 2004.
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