Anti-Islam Dutch Politician Stands Trial

October 4 2010
The trial for controversial politician Geert Wilders began in Amsterdam on Monday. Wilders is accused of inciting hatred against Muslims, Moroccans and non-Western immigrants through a number of actions, including statements likening the Quran to Mein Kampf.
The opening days of the trial included controversy. Wilders’ lawyer challenged the legitimacy of the court after the judge questions the defendant’s decision to remain silent during the trial, saying “people say that you’re good at putting forward your opinion, but then avoiding debate about it. And it looks like you’re doing that again here”. A special panel called in to determine whether these comments showed sufficient bias to justify the appointment of new judges ruled that the trial will continue unchanged. The hearing continued Wednesday with a screening of Wilders’ anti-Islam film Fitna, released in 2008.
The trial comes as Wilders takes a crucial position in the newly formed national government. The minority government of Liberal VVD and Christian Democrats depends on the support of Wilders’ Freedom Party to attain a one seat majority. Ruling on the trial is expected on November 4, 2010.