Dutch court rules anti-Islamic comments “legal”
A Dutch court ruled that branding Islam as “fascist” and insulting Prophet Muhammad as “barbarian” do not incite religious hatred.
A Dutch court ruled on Monday, April 7, that branding the faith of 1.5 billion Muslims as “fascist” and insulting their Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) as “barbarian” do not incite religious hatred.
“The contested remarks are not seen as unlawful,” the court said in a four-page verdict cited by Agence France-Presse (AFP).
The Dutch Islamic Federation (NIF) had asked the court to ban MP Geert Wilders from making such comparisons, accusing him of inciting hatred and violence against Muslims.
The court said the far-right lawmaker was within his legal rights.
“The defendant’s freedom of speech has been the decisive factor in this matter.
“Seen in this light, it cannot be said that the defendant with the comments he made, although they are provocative, is inciting hatred or violence against Muslims.”
The court defined fascism as “a collective term for ideologies which fundamentally embrace a totalitarian political system which leaves no room for people with other ideas.”
The ruling seemed to suggest that the court believes Islam is one of these totalitarian ideologies.
The court also claimed that the Muslim group failed to disprove that Islam consists of beliefs that are in contradiction to democratic principles.
A triumphant Wilders, the leader of the right-wing Freedom Party that has nine seats in the 150-member parliament, relished the verdict.
“I have always believed that in the political debate it must be possible to point to the dangers of the ongoing Islamization of the West and of the Netherlands,” he told the ANP news agency.
“I have never had the feeling that I have gone too far.”
In August, Wilders described the Qur’an as a “fascist” text which exhorts followers to kill and rape, comparing it to Mein Kampf, which outlines Hitler’s racist ideology.
He has also called for banning it from the Netherlands.
Last month, Wilders released a short documentary linking the Muslim holy book to terror attacks.
The NIF had wanted the court to ban the film but it had already been launched by the time the case was heard.
Judging from the verdict, it looks very unlikely that the court would have ordered such a ban.
The film has sparked worldwide outrage and protests even from non-Muslims.
The World Council of Churches has blasted the documentary as an insult to all religions and an attempt to incite hatred.
Dutch Jews also condemned it for suggesting that all Muslims hate Jews and want to kill them.