Dutch anti-Islam politician 'never goes too far': lawyer

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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

3 Comments To This Article

  • Joan posted:

    on 31st May 2011, 09:00:14 - Reply

    So a man in 21st century Europe gets sued and dragged through the mud because he criticizes a religion ! Why is the same thing not happening to all those Muslims who curse and openly belittle Christianity and all those who don't believe in Islam ? Where are all the other religions who get criticized all the time ? They aren't being sued ! So it's obvious that Wilders is considered a bigot etc. , not because he's wrong, but because that "insulted " religion is Islam. Are those Amsterdam judicial members stupid ? I think they have just been blinded by the fashionable madness to tolerate and pacify Islamics. That, and the fact that they hate Geert, and want him out of office. Wilders is to be admired for his effort to warn the free world about Islamization. How ironic that he is condemned for it instead !
  • Roland44 posted:

    on 31st May 2011, 02:50:33 - Reply

    I hope that if the judges rule the way the prosecutors and the defense want we will see a more moderate tone coming from Wilders opponents and critics.
  • ecks why posted:

    on 30th May 2011, 19:11:49 - Reply

    geert wilders is in trouble for speaking truths about islam against a politically correct society

    even a brief review of islamic theology