Dutch MP Wilders Prosecuted For Criticizing Radical Muslims Under "Hate Crime" Statutes
January 22, 2009
Dutch MP Wilders Prosecuted For Criticizing Radical Muslims Under "Hate Crime" Statutes
Similar Legislation In The U.S. On Near Horizon
By WILLIAM MAYER and BEILA RABINOWITZ
January 22, 2009 - San Francisco, CA - PipeLineNews.org - A Dutch court has ordered the prosecution of Dutch MP Geert Wilders [Party for Freedom] for making "anti Islamic" statements. [view decision below or take link http://rechtspraak.nl/Actualiteiten/Amsterdam+Court+of+Appeal+orders+the+criminal+prosecution+of+the+Member+of+Parliament+of+the+Dutch+S.htm]
Wilders, a long-time critic of the radical Muslim jihad taking place in the Netherlands, last year produced a short film, Fitna, which seems to have been the main motivator behind the court's action, which is being advanced despite a contrary decision issued only last summer.
Wilders stated that we was "shaken" by the ruling.
Wilders is being prosecuted under Dutch "hate speech" laws and could face a very long sentence if he is found guilty.
Holland's regulations mimic similar legislation throughout Europe which have served to give governments the supreme prosecutorial tool; the ability to criminalize thought.
Though these strictures ostensibly grew out of the Nazi experience and the desire to prevent its recurrence, the blindness of dealing with such a complex phenomenon with reflexive legislation can't be underestimated. The supreme irony here is that the Islamists - many of whom are in large part in league ideologically with the Nazi fascists who preceded them - have now successfully used these laws to muzzle their critics such as Mr. Wilders.
The prospect of being jailed simply for speaking out about Europe's increasingly radical Muslim minority presents a daunting challenge in the struggle between civilization and barbarism.
The foundation for these laws is "The Universal Declaration of Human Rights" [adopted post-Nuremberg in 1948] which became the foundation upon which all of Europe's anti-hate laws draw their sustenance.
As legal scholar Jieskje Hollander observed [when commenting on the specifics of article 10(2) of this legislation] though the UDHR generally recognized free speech, it was quantified and restrained free speech.
Genuine, unrestricted freedom of expression was not similarly protected.
"This paragraph gives us a range of reasons for which the right to freedom of speech can and should be restrained. The right to express oneself freely comes with certain special duties and responsibilities...If speech is used recklessly or with malicious intent it will threaten the security of society in various ways, it will threaten the constitutional state and it will harm the individual." [see, Hate Speech, a Historical Inquiry into its Legal Status, Jieskje Hollander, p. 31]
This duality leaves Holland and Europe in the grasp of an irreducible nexus, defining free speech in such a manner as to suppress it.
About the prosecution Wilders has written, "I stand accused not alone but with hundreds of thousands of Dutchmen who reject the Islamization of the Netherlands...I consider this a black day." [source, http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1057514.html]
Though this development is indeed a black day, it is by no means the first, with various political iconoclasts, not the least of which was Italian writer Oriana Fallaci whose criticism of radical Islam post 9/11 resulted in her having to go into hiding and eventually fleeing the Continent after being prosecuted under "hate crime" statutes.
Efforts to institute similar rules in the United States have been largely rebuffed but there is still considerable support for them, largely among national Democrat legislators codified in the Matthew Sheppard act, which passed the House on May 3, 2007 by a vote of 237 to 180 and the Senate two months later on a similarly partisan tally.
Facing what seemed a sure veto by president George W. Bush and a firestorm of criticism by conservative grassroots organizations, the legislation was dropped after various legislative tactics [attaching it to a defense appropriations act for example] were tried.
An additional sobering fact regarding that legislation was that 31 out of 50 state attorneys general supported the bill.
As events play out in Holland the rest of the Western world must note how such laws can be used by its most committed enemies to advance the stealth jihad which will be greatly empowered if this prosecution is ultimately successful.
Given the ideological composition of the new administration, efforts to resurrect and enact these anti-First Amendment draconian schemes can't be that far off.
Amsterdam Court of Appeal orders the criminal prosecution of the Member of Parliament of the Dutch Second Chamber Geert Wilders
Amsterdam, 21 january 2009 - 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 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.
Secondly, the Court of Appeal has answered the question whether a possible criminal prosecution or conviction would be admissible according to the norms of the European Convention on Human Rights and the jurisprudence of the European Court based thereon, which considers the freedom of expression of paramount importance. The Court of Appeal has concluded that the initiation of a criminal prosecution and a possible conviction later on as well, provided that it is proportionate, does not necessarily conflict with the freedom of expression of Wilders, since statements which create hate and grief made by politicians, taken their special responsibility into consideration, are not permitted according to European standards either.
Thirdly, the Court of Appeal has answered the question whether criminal prosecution of Wilders because of his statements would be opportune in the Dutch situation (the question of opportunity). According to the Court of Appeal the instigation of hatred in a democratic society constitutes such a serious matter that a general interest is at stake in order to draw a clear boundary in the public debate.
As regards the insult of a group the Court of Appeal makes a distinction. In general the Court determines that the traditional Dutch culture of debating is based on tolerance of each others views to a large extent while Islamic immigrants may be expected to have consideration for the existing sentiments in the Netherlands as regards their belief, which is partly at odds with Dutch and European values and norms. As regards insulting statements the Court of Appeal prefers the political, public and other legal counter forces rather than the criminal law, as a result of which an active participation to the public debate, by moslims as well, is promoted.
However, the Court of Appeal makes an exception as regards insulting statements in which a connection with Nazism is made (for instance by comparing the Koran with "Mein Kampf"). The Court of Appeal considers this insulting to such a degree for a community of Islamic worshippers that a general interest is deemed to be present in order to prosecute Wilders because of this.
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.
Otherwise, the Court of Appeal emphasizes that this is a provisional judgment in the sense that Wilders has not been convicted in this suit of complaint. The Court of Appeal has only judged whether there are sufficient indications – at the level of a reasonable suspicion – to start a criminal prosecution against Wilders. The penal judge who will ultimately render judgment in a public criminal trial will answer the question if there is ground for conviction, and if so, to which extent.