Dutch MP Geert Wilders Goes On Trial
This is a tough issue for me. I lived in Holland for a number of years, and know the country to be a great place to live. I love Dutch society and how tolerant and open it is.
From what I know of the Koran, MP Wilders has a valid point in wanting to limit the Koran’s influence on Dutch society. I don’t necessarily agree with his methods, but I definitely agree with what he’s trying to do.
I don’t feel that he has incited any hatred of anything.
I feel that MP Wilders has done nothing but point out the beliefs and the writings in the Koran for all to see. If anything, MP Wilders has been proselytizing about the Koran for years.
Mr Wilders, in a bright blue tie and with his trademark shock of blond hair, waved to supporters as he entered the court complex in Amsterdam.
A small group of protesters had gathered outside court and riot police were on duty nearby.
In an opening statement, he told the court that he was being persecuted for “stating my opinion in the context of public debate”, adding: “I can assure you, I will continue proclaiming it.”
His lawyer, Bram Moszkowicz, then told the presiding judge that Mr Wilders would thereafter exercise his right to silence and not answer questions during the trial.
Prosecutors have brought five charges of inciting hatred and discrimination, and the trial will scrutinise statements he made between 2006 and 2008.
In one such statement, in an editorial for the De Volkskrant newspaper, he wrote: “I’ve had enough of Islam in the Netherlands; let not one more Muslim immigrate.
“I’ve had enough of the Koran in the Netherlands: Forbid that fascist book.”
In 2008, he released a short film called Fitna which infuriated Muslims by juxtaposing images of suicide bombings with verses from the Koran.
Geert Wilders: “I am sitting here as a suspect because I have spoken… nothing but the truth”
The Dutch anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders has gone on trial in Amsterdam accused of inciting hatred against Muslims.
Mr Wilders, whose statements have included comparing the Koran with Hitler’s Mein Kampf, told the court freedom of expression was on trial.
If found guilty, he faces a maximum sentence of a year in jail.
Mr Wilders’ Freedom Party is the third biggest in the Netherlands after June elections, and is expected to play a key role in the coalition government.