Dutch to prosecute Arab group for Holocaust-denying cartoon

5th September 2009, Comments 0 comments

The decision to prosecute has raised tricky questions about whether the Dutch are applying double standards when it comes to discrimination.

The Hague -- An Arab organisation will be put on trial in the Netherlands for publishing a Holocaust-denying cartoon in response to caricatures of the prophet Mohammed, prosecutors said Wednesday.

"This cartoon is discriminatory," the prosecuting authority said of the sketch on the website of the Arab European League (AEL) which it said depicted the Nazi holocaust as a figment of Jewish imagination.

"This is offensive to Jews as a group," said a statement.

Last month, Dutch prosecutors ordered the league to remove the cartoon from its website or face prosecution.

The cartoon was punishable, they found, "because it offends Jews on the basis of their race and/or religion".

At the same time, prosecutors had announced they would not put far-right MP Geert Wilders on trial for distributing controversial Danish cartoons of the prophet Mohammed on his website.

It found those cartoons were not offensive towards Muslims, nor contributed to hatred, discrimination or violence against them.

The AEL, which had originally agreed to remove the cartoon from its website, decided to put it back in protest against this ruling which it described as unfair and incomprehensible.

"Double standards are being applied," says a statement on the website of the league, which said it "stands for the rights of the Arab and Moslem communities in Europe."

The Mohammed cartoons originally appeared in Danish newspapers in September 2005, sparking protests across the Muslim world.

In a separate investigation, Wilders faces prosecution in the Netherlands for inciting hatred against Muslims by making statements comparing Islam to Nazism.

He made a 17-minute film, Fitna, which UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has called "offensively anti-Islamic."


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