Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Imagine if a leader within the tea party movement were able to persuade its members to establish a third political party. Imagine he succeeded—overwhelmingly—and that as their leader he stood a real chance of winning the presidency.
Then imagine that in anticipation of his electoral victory, the Democrats and Republicans quickly modified an existing antidiscrimination law so that he could be convicted for statements he made on the campaign trail.
All of this seems impossible in a 21st-century liberal democracy. But it is exactly what is happening in Holland to Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders.The implications of this trial are enormous.
In the short term, it could bring the simmering tensions between Holland's approximately one million Muslims and the 1.4 million voters who elected Mr. Wilders to a boil.
The Netherlands has seen its share of Islamist violence before and could well see violent confrontations again.
On a more fundamental level, this trial—even if Mr. Wilders wins—could silence the brave critics of radical Islam. The West is in a war of ideas against political Islam. If free speech is not protected in Europe, we're already losing.
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Geert Wilders vs the Dutch Inquisition.
Find Wilders not guilty of insulting groups, prosecutors tell court.
Anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders should be found not guilty of insulting Muslims and non-western immigrants as a group, the public prosecution department said at the MP’s trial on Tuesday.By likening the Koran to Hitler’s Mein Kampf, Wilders was focusing on Islam and the Koran, rather than Muslims, even if the statement can be considered upsetting, the public prosecutors said during court hearings in Amsterdam.
In addition, there can only be talk of collective insult when a statement damages the entire group, the prosecutors said.AMSTERDAM — Prosecutors say Dutch politician Geert Wilders cannot defend himself on hate speech charges by arguing that remarks he has made critical of Islam are true.
They say there is no general agreement about the nature of Islam and his statements are only his opinion….Prosecutor Birgit van Roessel said at the start of her closing arguments Tuesday that the right to freedom of speech has limits, including when it infringes too far on the right of freedom of religion….
"There are all kinds of fights over what is a religion and what isn't," said Charles Haynes, a senior scholar at the First Amendment Center. "Islam is not one of them."
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