Judge clears Geert Wilders of spreading hate

THE NETHERLANDS – In a case brought by the Dutch Islamic Federation, a judge has ruled that MP Geert Wilders is not guilty of spreading hate, although his statements are provocative.

The Islamic Foundation wanted a judgement on the Freedom Party’s leader after he compared the Qur’an to Mein Kampf and called Islam a fascist religion. However the judge ruled that members of parliament have to be able to express their opinions strongly.

The D66 Democrats want the Lower House to investigate exactly what Mr Wilders told the cabinet about his 15-minute film Fitna. During a Lower House debate on the anti-Qur’an film last week, two ministers and Mr Wilders disagreed about what was said during a meeting held in November.

A record of the meeting says the ministers were concerned about the end of the film in which Mr Wilders said he intended to tear out pages of the Qur’an and burn them in the fireplace. Mr Wilders accused the ministers of lying.

D66 leader Alexander Pechtold says it is bad for the image of politics when an MP and the cabinet get into a situation like this. The conservative VVD called for an investigation last week.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Tuesday April 8, 2008.
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