Dutch Lawyer Asks for Reconsideration of Geert Wilders’ Trial for Inciting Hatred

October 22, 2013

With reference to a 2011 case in which a Dutch court found politician Geert Wilders not guilty of inciting hatred against Muslims, lawyer Gerard Sprong has asked the court for a reconsideration. The ruling of the earlier case, which developed as a response to Wilders’ anti-Islam statements and the release of his online movie Fitna, will not be affected and there is no question of Wilders receiving punishment. Rather, Sprong is requesting a clear ruling on whether Wilders was guilty of discrimination and inciting hatred with an eye to similar future cases, he told TV programme Pauw & Witteman.

Dutch News: http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2013/10/lawyer_wants_wilders_inciting.php

Religious Organizations De-Escalate Tensions Around Islam

8 March 2012

A research project by members of the University of Amsterdam has concluded that religious organizations provide a source of de-escalation in tensions around Islam in the Netherlands. Commissioned by the justice ministry’s Scientific Research and Documentation Centre (WODC), the project studied five cases of criticism of Islam in western countries, including the Swiss minaret ban (2009), the anti-Islam film Fitna (2008), the Danish cartoon affair (2005-2006). Researchers analyzed the public reactions of Islamic, Christian, Jewish, Hindu and Buddhist organizations and their leaders. Researcher Gerard Wiegers commented that in their responding to these instances of criticism, “the original and inventive approach of some Islamic organizations has pleasantly surprised us.”

Geert Wilders “Damages Netherlands’ Reputation” in UK speech

Geert Wilders, leader of the anti-immigration Freedom Party (PVV), has featured prominently in Dutch news coverage this week.
With the success of the Freedom (PVV) Party in the Hague during last week’s local elections, Wilders announced that he will take a seat on the city council. Earlier Wilders had stated that if the party won local elections he would not take up a seat on the council.
During a trip to London on March 7, Wilders screened his controversial film Fitna. He also announced that a follow up movie, Fitna II, will not be released before the parliamentary elections in June 2010. Following the screening, Wilders delivered a provocative speech in which he called upon Britain to stop accepting immigrants from Muslim nations. The conference was countered with protests.
Responding to his provocative comments, Dutch foreign minister Maxime Verhagen has accused Wilders of damaging the Netherlands’ reputation abroad by spreading hatred and fear, Dutch News reports. Verhagen referred to Wilders’ press conference, saying “being free to give offence does not mean that it is wise to give offence… Everyone has the responsibility to show respect for the rights and reputations of others…”.

Wilders trial to go ahead with expanded charges

A court in Amsterdam ruled on Wednesday that Geert Wilders’ trial on hate crime charges will proceed as scheduled on January 20.

Earlier this week, the public prosecution service announced the expansion of charges against Wilders. Initially charged for religious insult and anti-Muslim hatred evidenced in his online movie Fitna and his public statements, Wilders now faces additional charges of inciting hatred against Muslims, Moroccans, and non-Western immigrants following his claim that Moroccan youths are violent and calling for Holland’s borders to be closed to all non-western immigrants, Volkskrant reported.

Following the expansion of charges, Wilders and his lawyer Bram Moskowicz attempted to appeal the court date. On Wednesday the court ruled Wilders’ appeal inadmissible, saying the defense had not produced any new facts or evidence.

According to AFP, Wilders faces up to one year in jail if convicted.

Sudanese government accuses Danish director of making Islamophobic movie

The Danish director Susanne Bier is now shooting a new movie in Kenya, titled Hævnen (The Revenge). The movie primarily takes place in Denmark and depicts a young boy’s problematic relationship with his father, who works in a refugee camp as a doctor.

Part of the story touches on the war in Sudan’s Darfur region. The movie tracks refugees from camps in Sudan to their new lives in a small Denmark town.

Bier says the movie has nothing to do with Islam.

But the Sudanese government has released a statement saying Bier’s movie aims to represent “non-existing conditions in Darfur”, and that the movie is being made in the same spirit as the Islamophobic Dutch film Fitna, as well as the Danish Muhammad-cartoons.

Danish PhD-fellow and expert in Sudanese Affairs, Anders Hastrup, stresses that the Sudanese government takes every opportunity to re-describe the conflict in Darfur as a conflict between the Islamic and Western world. Hastrup says: “The Sudanese government is very vigilant and everything Danish is already demonized because of the Muhammad-cartoons so when a Danish director is making a movie about something related to Sudan the Sudanese government blows it up and tries to foster distrust to everything Western among the Sudanese population”.

The Danish minister of Foreign Affairs has answered the Sudanese government by saying there is freedom of speech and freedom of artistic expression in Denmark. He underlines that no other Muslim country has provided a critique of Bier’s movie.

Czech Muslim organization invites Wilders to screen Fitna

Czech Muslim organization Libertas Independent Agency is planning to invite Dutch MP Geert Wilders to show his short anti-Islam film Fitna and discuss its message with members, news agency ANP reports. Originally, Senator Jiri Oberfalzer had invited Wilders to show his film and deliver an address in the Senate on November 30, but the invitation was canceled after criticism from other senators and politicians. Libertas spokesman Lukas Lhotan says an open discussion is the best way to tackle anti-Islam sentiment. ‘We have seen what happens when prejudices are ignored, as anti-Semitism was ignored in the 20th century,’ he told ANP.

Wilders visit to US college cut short

A question and answer session by Dutch anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders at a college in the United States was cut short on Tuesday after “the tone of the event began to turn ‘nasty’ and some of the several hundred students ‘began jeering’”.

Wilders visited Temple University in Philadelphia in order to screen his movie Fitna. Associated Press reports that Wilders’ “remarks were met by a mixture of applause and boos, and occasionally gasps — particularly when he stated that ‘our Western culture is far better than the Islamic culture and we should defend it.’” Wilders’ visit was supported by a student group identified as Temple University Purpose.

Wilders visits UK after court overturns ban

Controversial politician and leader of the right-wing Freedom Party (PVV) Geert Wilders traveled to the United Kingdom on Friday. The visit comes after the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal in London ruled earlier this week that Wilders should not have been refused entry to the country in February 2009.

Wilders was invited in February to show his anti-Islam film Fitna at the House of Lords, the UK upper house of parliament. The invitation had come from UK Independence party peer, Lord Pearson. The British Home Office refused Mr Wilders entry to the country, giving the reason that his visit would “threaten community security and therefore public security”. A British organisation that promotes freedom of expression, the Birkenhead Society, had brought the case on his behalf, Radio Netherlands Worldwide reports.

BBC reports that Wilders told a packed press conference in Westminster he was “proud of the UK asylum and immigration tribunal” for overturning the ban, and repeated his criticism of Muslim ideology, defending his call for the Quran to be banned in Holland. About 40 Muslim protesters gathered outside the Abbey Gardens buildings, opposite the Houses of Parliament, where the press conference was held.

Wilders To Stand Trial in January

A court in the Netherlands has ordered far-right politician Geert Wilders to stand trial in January 2010. The leader of the Freedom Party is charged with inciting discrimination and hatred with his statements about Islam and Muslims. The public prosecution court determined in January 2009 that Wilders would stand trial for his inflammatory remarks, including his film Fitna and comments on the “Islamisation” of the Netherlands. The decision was upheld by the high court in May 2009 and the January 2010 court date established this week.

Wilders has denied the charges and said he wants to put Islam on trial. “That is why I am considering calling on radical imams and other idiots as witnesses,” he told the Telegraaf. The trial will take place two months before local elections in which the PVV will participate.