Geert Wilders, the leader of the Dutch Freedom Party who is known for criticizing Islam and, in particular, releasing the controversial film, Fitna, was acquitted by an Amsterdam District Court today. He had been charged with “inciting hatred and discrimination and insulting Muslims.”
As many, including Wilders, have already said, this is a tremendous victory for free speech in general, and for the fight against Islamization in particular. The verdict does not, however, erase the fact that Wilders has had to defend himself against this prosecution for two years. My hope is that Wilders was able to see his fight, in large part, as an opportunity to gain more publicity for his message (which it has done).
In addition, this verdict for Wilders in Amsterdam does not guarantee that others who are fighting Islamization, there or elsewhere, will be treated justly. For example, a police captain in Tulsa, Oklahoma, was recently suspended for refusing to attend a proselytizing event at an Islamic center. We have a long way to go yet.
Still, this verdict is cause for celebration.
5 responses to “Some Good News: Geert Wilders Acquitted”
I’m Gert Wilders!
“My hope is that Wilders was able to see his fight, in large part, as an opportunity to gain more publicity for his message (which it has done).”
Yes, it has. Also news to me about the police captain. I grew up in Tulsa, though now reside in Chicago. It seems the only news that has come out of Tulsa lately has all been pretty negative.
I’m pleased for Wilders and it’s certainly better that he wasn’t convicted but it was hardly a resounding victory for free speech. As with a similar trial in France a year or two ago or the recent Maclean’s/Mark Steyn case in Canada, it is still permissible (gee, thanks) to criticize/ridicule a religion but you cannot do the same to its practitioners. So you can criticize/ridicule Islam but not Muslims. That’s “hate speech”. Trying to decide which he had done was the whole basis for the trial, a trial that never should have occurred if free speech were sacrosanct, which sadly it no longer is.
Given what Wilders was subjected to – and that his persecutors appear ready to continue pursuing him – how readily will others be willing to speak out against Islam *and its followers*?
It’s not enough that people like Wilders must fear for their lives and in some cases go into hiding. But now they are being silenced as well by fear of legal prosecution if someone decides they have crossed some ill-defined line which should properly be covered only by long-standing law covering libel.
Agreed, Fred, we have a long way to go yet.
True, we certainly have a long way to go, but I am happy to be taking steps in the right direction!
Here’s an example of more positive progress: just last night I attended a talk on Islam’s treatment of women, which was organized and hosted by a TEA party group in my area. Suffice it to say, the talk consisted of a brazen, unapologetic, moral denunciation of Islam (supported by facts that were presented).
This type of thing is going on “under the radar” so you won’t hear about it in media reports, etc. At some point it ought to reach critical mass and boil over into the mainstream. The point is that there is a lot more resistance to Islamization and to government’s attempts to suppress criticism of Islam than many people probably realize. I think that the vast majority of Americans oppose the Islamic agenda and are willing to push back against it when necessary.