My friend Douglas Murray has a great piece in the Telegraph on the Wilders case: “Geert Wilders: on trial for telling the truth,” January 28:
[…] The Dutch courts charge that Wilders ‘on multiple occasions, at least once, (each time) in public, orally, in writing or through images, intentionally offended a group of people, i.e. Muslims, based on their religion’.
I’m sorry? Whoa there, just a minute. The man’s on trial because he ‘offended a group of people’? I get offended by all sorts of people. I get offended by very fat people. I get offended by very thick people. I get offended by very sensitive people. I get offended by the crazy car-crash of vowels in Dutch verbs. But I don’t try to press charges.
Yet, crazily, this is exactly what is going on now in a Dutch courtroom. If found guilty of this Alice-in-Wonderland accusation of ‘offending a group of people’, Wilders faces up to two years in prison. […]
Parts of Fitna – which is a compilation of documentary footage – are very disturbing. And very offensive indeed. The clips of Muslim clerics calling for the murder of infidels. Very offensive. The clips of Muslims holding banners saying ‘God bless Hitler’. Very offensive. The clip of a three-year-old Muslim girl indoctrinated and brain-washed to describe Jews as ‘Apes and Pigs’. Very offensive. The passage of the Koran, Surah 47, verse 4: ‘Therefore, when ye meet the Unbelievers in fight, smite at their necks; At length, when ye have thoroughly subdued them, bind a bond firmly on them.’ Very offensive.
Just to confirm – I find all these things very offensive. But Wilders didn’t say them. He is being tried for pointing out the fact that some – in some cases many – Muslims do. If there are to be prosecutions they should be of the clerics and leaders who advocate this nightmarish version of Islam. But not of Wilders….
Wilders is also being tried for saying things which some Muslims deem to be rude about the Koran. Another dangerous precedent. Will the Dutch courts now come after Ricky Gervais for the rude things he says about the Bible in his show Animals (on sale in Holland)? Why the special laws for hurt Muslim feelings? Just wait till the others get on the band-wagon! There won’t be room in the courts to prosecute the murderers and muggers. They’ll be too full up with the religious. Dutch Calvinist pastors madly petitioning for the extradition of Billy Connolly….