Exclusive: Score One More for Islamists – Dutch to Charge Geert Wilders over ‘Anti-Islamic Statements’

by PAM MEISTER January 22, 2009
It appears Dutch MP Geert Wilders, leader of the Netherlands’ Freedom Party and an outspoken opponent of radical Islam, will soon be on trial for anti-Islamic statements, often referred to as “hate speech,” due to the film he made last year called Fitna.
 
"In a democratic system, hate speech is considered so serious that it is in the general interest to... draw a clear line," the court in Amsterdam said.
 
What exactly defines “hate speech?” According to Wikipedia,
 
Hate speech is a term for speech intended to degrade, intimidate, or incite violence or prejudicial action against a person or group of people based on their race, gender, age, ethnicity, nationality, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, language ability, ideology, social class, occupation, appearance (height, weight, hair color, etc.), mental capacity, and any other distinction that might be considered by some as a liability.
 
If we use the above definition, could the prayer by Rev. Joseph Lowery at President Obama’s inauguration fit the “hate speech” mold?
 
Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their neighbors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask You to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get back, when brown can stick around; when yellow will be mellow; when the red man can get ahead, man; and when white would embrace what is right. Let all those who do justice and love mercy, say amen. Say amen.
 
Some might see that as intended to degrade white people. Perhaps it was. But should it be called “hate speech” and banned as such? Of course not. In a free society, unless a statement is provably libelous or in and of itself a direct threat to the safety of another (to use a tired cliché, shouting “Fire!” in a crowded theater just for the heck of it), people should have the right to say anything they want and let the chips fall where they may. Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from being offended. And of course, freedom of speech brings with it the responsibility to use it wisely. When used to educate, it can be invaluable.
 
For those who have not seen this short film, Fitna consists mainly of a series of quotes taken directly from the Koran, followed by acts of violence by Muslims that are consistent with said quotes. The quotes and acts of violence portrayed are further supported by statements made by Islamic preachers that justify the acts of violence against kuffar (non-believers) in the name of Islam.
 
Criticism of Fitna included statements such as, “The film was a deliberate act of discrimination against Muslims,” “anti-Islamic and insulting” and “provocative and anti-Islamic.” Fifty-three Jordanian ministers wanted to break all diplomatic ties with the Netherlands and Indonesians demonstrated outside the Dutch embassy in that nation (shouting slogans like “Holland Go to Hell).
 
At the time of its release, the Dutch government did not ban Fitna, but it did do its best to mollify Muslims. Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende said in a statement, “The vast majority of Muslims reject extremism and violence. In fact, the victims are often also Muslims. We therefore regret that Mr. Wilders has released this film. We believe it serves no purpose other than to cause offense.”
 
Why don’t the vast majority of Muslims say that they reject extremism and violence? Why must they rely on people like Jan Peter Balkenende to do the heavy lifting? Perhaps they fear reprisal by the very extremists they reject. In Denmark, for example, are reluctant to criticize certain aspects of their religion for fear of “social isolation, threats and violence.”
 
As it is, critics of Islam such as Wafa Sultan and Ayan Hirsi Ali are forced into hiding and need armed guards due to the fatwas against them. Ironically, Hirsi Ali was a naturalized Dutch citizen and a Dutch MP. As she and Wilders must know, membership does not always have its privileges. Politician Pim Fortuyn was assassinated for his anti-immigration stance. And Theo van Gogh, who collaborated with Hirsi Ali on the film Submission – which is about the treatment of women in Islam – paid for his outspokenness with his life. At that time, Jan Peter Balkenende said “it is unacceptable if expressing your opinion would be the cause of this brutal murder.” Apparently, though, expressing the wrong opinion will get you hauled into Dutch court.
 
If indeed Fitna was created for “no purpose other than to cause offense,” as Balkenende claimed, it’s in good company. Andres Serrano made headlines with his artistic vision known as Piss Christ and Chris Ofili’s Holy Virgin Mary – festooned in elephant dung – made headlines more than once, when the New York Times published it during the Mohammed cartoon crisis (while neglecting to publish any of the cartoons causing the controversy). Yet while “right wing” Christians may get upset about such obvious disparagements against their religion, their protests usually consist of picket lines and editorials. And their signs don’t usually call for the beheading of those who insult Christianity. Were these “works of art” meant to instruct and enlighten the public in the same spirit Wilders intended Fitna to instruct and enlighten the public about the dangers of radical Islam?
 
Andrew Bostom, author of The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism: From Sacred Texts to Solemn History (2008) and FamilySecurityMatters.org contributor, told FSM:
 
“As Dutch Prosecutor Otto Van Der Bijl  told CNN, a paltry total of nine persons filed complaints with the Court of Appeal, which is now drafting an indictment that charges Parliamentarian Geert Wilders with “incitement of hatred,” based upon the contents of his short documentary film Fitna, and Wilders’ discussion of the film. Fitna merely demonstrates how various Koranic verses – based upon orthodox, mainstream Islamic interpretations of these verses – are used by Muslim clerics and political leaders to incite Muslim populations to violence. It is beyond Orwellian to prosecute Wilders – who simply holds up a mirror to Islamic societies – for being in any way responsible for the Koranic incitement and Muslim violence his documentary faithfully records, and he appropriately condemns.”
 
Robert Spencer continues the theme:
 
For all the indignation that Fitna has caused around the world, and for all the angry claims that it “equates Islam with violence,” that equation has already been made, many, many times, by Islamic jihadists around the world.
 
[…]
 
This is a recurring phenomenon: when non-Muslims point out that Islamic jihadists commit acts of violence and justify them by reference to the Qur’an, many non-Muslim and Muslim apologists for jihad, include many who are widely known as "moderates" respond by claiming that the one who is pointing out all this is committing an act of “hatred,” “bigotry,” “Islamophobia,” and the like. They don't have a word to say about the actual acts of violence, hatred and supremacism committed by the jihadists – no, the real villain is the one who reports on these actions.
 
This lawsuit, which reminds one of the hate speech allegation made against author Mark Steyn and the Canadian magazine MacLean’s, is a blow for free speech everywhere and a blow against the West as radical Islamists continue their quest to infiltrate from within – a stealth Jihad. Wilders’ plight is likely to give pause to anyone else who might be considering publicly criticizing any aspect of Islam. Even if Wilders wins what is likely to be a costly suit, the Islamists are the ones who are the big winners.
 
Those who value a free society cannot allow this to happen.
 
Author’s note: According to those who are close to the situation, a legal fund is being set up to help Wilders with his legal costs. In the meantime, concerned individuals can sign an online petition to the Dutch government. As of this writing, there are more than 5,000 signatures from people around the world. Click here for more information.
 
Pam Meister is the editor of FamilySecurityMatters.org.
 
 

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