Dutch anti-Islam politician 'never goes too far': lawyer
Dutch anti-Islam lawmaker Geert Wilders often "went far" in his criticism of the Muslim religion, but he never overstepped acceptable boundaries, his lawyer said in court Monday.
"He goes far, but he never goes too far," lawyer Bram Moszkowicz told the Amsterdam district court where the flamboyant politician faces hate speach charges.
"He doesn't speak out because it's funny. He speaks out over the gravest danger facing our Western civilisation: an increased Islamisation," Moszkowicz told judges.
"Acts of terror have been committed... with the Koran in hand, in London, in Madrid," he added, referring bombings in the two capitals.
"If there's a threat, Mr Wilders speaks out about it," said Moszkowicz in the trial, broadcast live on Dutch national television's website.
Dutch prosecutors also last week argued for Wilders's acquittal, saying that while his comments may have caused anxiety and insult, they were not criminal.
Wilders, the leader of the right-wing Party for Freedom (PVV), went on trial on October last year for criticising Islam and notably likening the Koran to Hitler's "Mein Kampf".
The trial ended abruptly after three weeks when the judges were ordered to step down by a panel of their peers who upheld claims of bias by the 47-year-old politician.
The trial resumed in March, with prosecutors again stating a previous position that there was no case against Wilders as he was critical of Islam as a religion and not Muslims as a people, and therefore committed no criminal offence.
Wilders, 47, became notorious in 2008 by making a short film, "Fitna", mixing Koranic verses with footage of extremist attacks.
The parliamentarian, whose PVV party gives parliamentary support to a right-leaning coalition, risks up to a year in jail or a 7,600-euro (10,300-dollar) fine for comments made in his campaign to "stop the Islamisation of The Netherlands".
Prosecutors initially dismissed dozens of complaints against him in June 2008 but appeals judges in January 2009 ordered that Wilders be put on trial as his utterances amounted to "sowing hatred" -- compelling an unwilling prosecution to mount a case against him.
© 2011 AFP