A Dutch court has ordered prosecutors to put a right-wing politician on trial for making anti-Islamic statements.
Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders made a controversial film last year equating Islam with violence and has likened the Koran to Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf.
"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.
Mr Wilders said the judgement was an "attack on the freedom of expression".
"Participation in the public debate has become a dangerous activity. If you give your opinion, you risk being prosecuted," he said.
Not only he, but all Dutch citizens opposed to the "Islamisation" of their country would be on trial, Mr Wilders warned.
"Who will stand up for our culture if I am silenced?" he added.
The three judges said that they had weighed Mr Wilders's "one-sided generalisations" against his right to free speech, and ruled that he had gone beyond the normal leeway granted to politicians.
"The Amsterdam appeals court has ordered the prosecution of member of parliament Geert Wilders for inciting hatred and discrimination, based on comments by him in various media on Muslims and their beliefs," the court said in a statement.
"The court also considers appropriate criminal prosecution for insulting Muslim worshippers because of comparisons between Islam and Nazism made by Wilders," it added.
The court's ruling reverses a decision last year by the public prosecutor's office, which said Mr Wilders's comments had been made outside parliament as a contribution to the debate on Islam in Dutch society and that no criminal offence had been committed.
Prosecutors said on Wednesday that they could not appeal against the judgement and would open an investigation immediately.
Gerard Spong, a prominent lawyer who pushed for Mr Wilders's prosecution, welcomed the court's decision.
"This is a happy day for all followers of Islam who do not want to be tossed on the garbage dump of Nazism," he told reporters.
In March 2008, Mr Winders posted a film about the Koran on the internet, prompting angry protests across the Muslim World.
Opponents say Mr Wilders has been fuelling hate against Muslims
The opening scenes of Fitna - a Koranic term sometimes translated as "strife" - show a copy of the holy book followed by footage of the bomb attacks on the US in 11 September 2001, London in July 2005 and Madrid in March 2004.
Pictures appearing to show Muslim demonstrators holding up placards saying "God bless Hitler" and "Freedom go to hell" also feature.
The film ends with the statement: "Stop Islamisation. Defend our freedom."
Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende said at the time that the film wrongly equated Islam with violence and served "no purpose other than to offend".
A year earlier, Mr Wilders described the Koran as a "fascist book" and called for it to be banned in "the same way we ban Mein Kampf", in a letter published in the De Volkskrant newspaper.
Mr Wilders has had police protection since Dutch director Theo Van Gogh was killed by a radical Islamist in 2004.
Correspondents say his Freedom Party (PVV), which has nine MPs in the lower house of parliament, has built its popularity largely by tapping into the fear and resentment of Muslim immigrants.
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Additionally, Islam's hatred of Jews is eerily similar to that of Nazis, as is evidenced in the Koran, as quoted by Hamas in their official charter:
The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him salvation, has said:
"The Day of Judgement will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Muslims, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews." (related by al-Bukhari and Muslim).
Now, using my electronic nuance machine, I will admit that there are many Muslims who do not believe such things. In fact, there are plenty of Muslims who, very likely, oppose these ideas in their hearts.
However, there is no organized Muslim voice against the more dangerous strictures of Islam. To my knowledge, there is no Islamic political organization, academic institution, media outlet, or government, of any appreciable size, anywhere in the world, which is moderate.
Mecca, the Holy City of Islam, is in the most strict of all Islamic nations, Saudi Arabia. In the Saudi Kingdom, a man or woman will be put to death for apostasy, homosexuality, and/or adultery. It is not that uncommon for women who have been raped to be put to death for adultery, or to be the victims of an Honor Killing at the hands of their relatives.
Such are the ideas of Islam.
I would say that Islam, in this sense, is not only like Nazism, but in some ways, worse. And, I would say that I see no place for such ideas in the Western world.
Link to Geert Wilders' FITNA
Text of Dutch court judgement against Wilders (in English)
Rosetta Stone for FITNA
The complete list of languages into which Fitna has been translated:
BTW, recall Van Bommel raised public anger in The Netherlands by his calling for 'an intifada against Israel' -- and by leading a Hamas protest meeting where hate-speech chants against Jews such as "Hamas, Hamas, all the Jews Must be Gassed" in ...
Where are the Dutch courts on that?
“We depend on small donations. The Freedom Party is the only party in Parliament that does not accept any government funding. This court decision jeopardizes the very existence of the Freedom Party. We simply cannot afford the enormous legal expenses.”
And the second is a law passed by Dutch parliament some days ago:
The Dutch parliament wants the government to prosecute antisemitic and anti-Islamic statements, now that emotions about the Middle East are again flaring up. Only the SGP, the Christian Union, the PVV (Party for Freedom) and the VVD (People's Party for Freedom and Democracy) voted against this motion of the D66 Thursday.
Both worsen even more the prospects of Islam's criticism in the Netherlands.