Europe strikes another blow against free speech and takes another step towards dhimmitude. Not only has a Dutch court decided that the film Fitna goes beyond acceptable political speech, they have also decided that producer-lawmaker Geert Wilders went beyond the protections afforded elected officials. Wilders will face hate-crimes charges for insulting Muslims with comparisons between radical Islamists and the Nazis, among other arguments:
A Dutch court has ordered prosecutors to put a right-wing politician on trial for making anti-Islamic statements.
Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders made a controversial film last year equating Islam with violence and has likened the Koran to Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf.
“In a democratic system, hate speech is considered so serious that it is in the general interest to… draw a clear line,” the court in Amsterdam said.
Mr Wilders said the judgement was an “attack on the freedom of expression”.
The sensitivity of Nazi comparisons seems rather ironic, since Wilders included in the film Muslim protestors who held signs saying, “God Bless Hitler”. Does the Dutch court believe that criticism of that impulse among Islamists — certainly not an isolated impulse — amounts to a hate crime? When exactly can people criticize the protests of others?
Freedom of speech, in a democratic system or any other, requires tolerance by the populace of unpopular ideas and criticisms. Popular speech requires no protection. Imposing limits on what can and cannot be criticized and opposed through rhetoric and peaceful assembly ends freedom and starts totalitarianism. If Wilders cannot criticize Islam openly and freely without the government requiring permission, then the government can declare all dissent illegal through “hate crimes” legislation based on the whim of the government in question. It won’t be long before the ruling class in Holland discover that they can protect their own status through such prosecution and attack dissent accordingly.
Whether or not one agrees with the thrust of Fitna, the impulse to silence Wilders represents an affront to freedom. Let the Muslims counter with their own arguments and use their own freedom of speech to prove Wilders wrong. Silencing Wilders in this manner strongly suggests that they cannot do so and need to apply force to silence Wilders instead. Fortunately, the Dutch seem willing to provide that force for the Muslims.