Anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders Faces Trial Over Controversial Film

January 22, 2009

Author: David Charter

Source: The Times Online

The limits of free speech and Dutch tolerance are to be tested in a court case after judges ruled yesterday that a right-wing MP who compared the Koran to Mein Kampf should be put on trial for inciting hatred and discrimination.

Geert Wilders, the leader of the Dutch Freedom Party (PVV), will face charges for his outspoken anti-Islamic comments and his film Fitna, which juxtaposed the Koran and terrorist attacks including the September 11, 2001, attacks and the London Tube and bus bombings on July 7, 2005.

Mr Wilders said that it was a black day and an attack on freedom of expression after the Amsterdam appeals court overturned a public prosecutor's decision not to pursue a case.

Gerard Spong, a lawyer who joined Islamic groups in pushing for the prosecution, said: “This is a happy day for all followers of Islam who do not want to be tossed on the garbage dump of Nazism.”

Mr Wilders, 45, has become the chief voice speaking out against immigration and what he calls the Islamisation of the Netherlands. His party won nine seats in the Dutch parliament as a backlash grew after the murders of Pim Fortuyn, the right-wing politician, and Theo van Gogh, who made a critical film about Islam. Mr Wilders has protection after several death threats were made against him.