Dutch politician to be tried in court for publicly criticizing Islam
Europe | January 22, 2009 3:10:41 PM IST
A far-right Dutch politician who gained global notoriety with a film claiming links between the Koran and terrorism is to be put on trial for his public statements against Islam.
According to the Independent, Geert Wilders, the leader of the extremist Freedom Party (PVV), said he was surprised that the Amsterdam Appeals Court has allowed his criminal prosecution for inciting hatred and of discriminating against Muslims by comparing their religion to Nazism.
"Mr Wilders' views constitute a criminal offence. [He] has insulted Islamic worshippers by attacking the symbols of the Islamic faith," the court stated, referring to his comparison of the Koran to Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf.
Forty-five-year-old Wilders said: "This was the last thing I expected. The fact that I can no longer speak openly but have to go before the court makes this a very black day, not just for me but for freedom of expression in this country."
"What I do is to express my opinion on behalf of half a million people who voted for me and who think it should be possible to criticise Islam. We are fed up with the 'Islamisation' of the Netherlands," he added.
The politician is a household name in the Netherlands thanks to his frequent pronouncements on the country's Muslim minority and his calls to ban the Koran on the grounds of being "fascist".
He became notorious last year after the release of his short film about the Koran, Fitna, which juxtaposed pages from the Koran with scenes of torture and violence, including the attacks on the World Trade Centre.
UN Secretary General, Ban ki-Moon, called the film "offensively anti-Islamic". (ANI)
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