Dutch lawmaker to fight Muslim hate charge
Far-right Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders said Tuesday he would challenge a court order that he be put on trial for inciting hatred and discrimination against Muslims.
THE HAGUE—Wilders said he had appointed an advocate and intended to submit an application to the Supreme Court to overturn last month's judgment by the Amsterdam appeals court.
"I have appointed the best advocate in the Netherlands to fight against this charge hanging over my head," he said in a statement on the website of his PVV party.
The appeals court had found that Wilders should be prosecuted for a series of public anti-Muslim statements, particularly for comparing Islam to Nazism.
The judgment had followed numerous complaints from citizens over the prosecution service's refusal to press charges against Wilders.
Wilders, 45, is the leader of the Dutch Freedom Party (PVV), which has nine seats in parliament.
He is also the maker of a 17-minute film, "Fitna", which has been called "offensively anti-Islamic" by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
The screening of the film in the Netherlands prompted protests in much of the Muslim world including Afghanistan, Indonesia, Iran and Pakistan.
Wilders has called for the banning of the Koran in the Netherlands, calling it "fascist".
In June, the prosecutor's office said "Fitna", though offensive to Muslims, did not give rise to a punishable offence.
It dismissed dozens of complaints received from around the country, saying Wilders' utterances were made in the context of public debate.
But the appeals court ruled that politicians, given their special responsibility, ought not to be permitted to make "statements which create hate and grief", and ordered the prosecution to put Wilders on trial.
An indictment is still being prepared.