Anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders’ comments about the Koran and the prophet Mohammed do not incite hatred or violence against Muslims, a court in Rotterdam ruled on Monday.
The judge rejected a case brought the Islamic federation (NIF) saying that Wilders’ comments were provocative but did not break the law.
‘A member of parliament must be able to express his standpoint, if necessary in sharp terms,’ the judge is quoted as saying by ANP news service. ‘Wilders’ right to freedom of expression is the deciding factor here’.
The NIF wanted to know if Wilders had broken the law with his public declaration in August last year that the Koran is a fascist book and comments that Mohammed was a barbarian.
According to the judge, the term fascism must be seen in a broader context. The NIF associated it with the Holocaust and ‘other evil practices from Nazi Germany’. But fascism should, said the judge, be seen as ‘a collective term for ideologies which fundamentally embrace a totalitarian political system which leaves no room for people with other ideas’.
When it came to Mohammed, the NIF was unable during the hearing to deny that he was a barbarian, reports ANP. Furthermore, the organisation was not able to disprove the fact that Islam consists of beliefs that are in contradiction to democratic principles, the judge said.
Wilders, who is leader of the anti-immigration PVV party (which has nine of the 150 seats in parliament) said he is pleased with the ruling.
‘I have always been of the opinion that I must be free to point out the dangers of the ongoing Islamisation of the west and the Netherlands in the political debate. I have never felt that I have gone over the top. You must be able to make sharp comments in the political debate, ’ ANP quotes him as saying.
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