Dutch Politician Not Guilty of Defaming Islam

    Right-wing politician Geert Wilders gives a brief statement after a Dutch court acquitted him of hate speech and discrimination in Amsterdam, Thursday June 23, 2011. A Dutch court ruled that his anti-Islam statements, while offensive to many Muslims, fell within the bounds of legitimate political debate.  Presiding judge Marcel van Oosten said Wilders' claims that Islam is violent by nature, and his calls to halt Muslim immigration and ban the Muslim holy book, the Quran, must be seen in a wider context of debate over immigration policy.

    Evert Elzinga / AP Photo

    An outspoken right-wing Dutch politician didn’t defame Muslims, a court in the Netherlands has ruled. It’s a big victory for Geert Wilders, who has called the Qur’an “fascist” and compared it to Hitler’s Mein Kampf among other inflammatory remarks about Islam. But a judge said that while his 2008 movie Fitna was “hurtful” and “shocking,” it did qualify as free speech. The movie demanded alterations to the Islamic holy book and incited protests in Indonesia and Pakistan, among other countries. Wilders hailed the verdict, which resolves three years of trial, as a victory for free speech.

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