The Amsterdam appeal court’s decision to back the prosecution of MP Geert Wilders for inciting hatred and discrimination has generated enormous response in the Dutch media and on websites.
In the AD, law professor Peter Tak is quoted as saying that Wilders can only benefit from the decision to take him to court. ‘Wilders will profile himself as a martyr for freedom,’ Tak tells the paper.
But fellow professor Ybo Buruma says he is glad the courts can judge the issue for themselves. ‘Everyone will soon be clear about what you can and cannot say,’ Buruma says.
In the Volkskrant, political science professor Jean Tillie says playing the martyr is part of Wilders’ strategy. ‘In the current political climate it seems that everything can be said. But that is a misunderstanding. There are limits,’ he said.
And he referred to the 1930s when Jews were likened to rats. On web forums today, the word Rif-ratten – meaning Moroccans from the Rif mountain area – is used with great glee, Tillie says.
Philosopher Paul Cliteur says in the same paper that he too is curious about where judges will draw the line. The fact that the court said Wilders had gone too far by likening the Koran to Hitler’s Mein Kampf was ‘odd’ he said. ‘You have to be able to deliver sharp criticism in a democracy,’ he said. ‘Even about religious books.’
The Telegraaf carries an editorial from the Wall Street Journal high on its website. ‘Silencing Islam’s critics: a Dutch court imports Saudi blasphemy norms to Europe,’ the WSJ says.
For Wednesday’s article on the court ruling, click here