|Remnant News Watch|
Geert Wilders to be Prosecuted
|REMNANT COLUMNIST, New York|
(Posted 3/5/09 www.RemnantNewspaepr.com) A Dutch court has ordered prosecutors to “put a right-wing politician on trial for making anti-Islamic statements,” reports BBC News (Jan. 21, 2009):
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.
Geert Wilders, 45, a member of the Dutch Parliament since 1998, is the founder of the Party for Freedom, regarded as a “right-wing” group because of its traditional views on culture and immigration. In 2008, Wilders made the short film, Fitna (an Arabic word denoting disorder, unrest, discord). The 15-minute film combines verses from the Koran with news footage depicting the results and ramifications of such teachings. Included in Fitna are:
- A scene of Sheikh Bakr Al-Samarai raising a sword and declaring: "If Allah permits us, oh nation of Mohammed, even the stone will say Oh Muslim. A Jew is hiding behind me, come and cut off his head. And we shall cut off his head! By Allah, we shall cut it off! Oh Jews!” An audience of several hundred cheer these words.
- Protesters supporting the murder of Theo van Gogh, warning others to heed the lesson or "pay with your blood." Van Gogh’s killer, Mohammed Bouyeri, is quoted as saying, “If I had the opportunity to get out of prison, and I had the opportunity to do it again, what I did on November 2nd, Allah I would have done exactly the same."
- Sheikh Ibrahim Mudeiris addressing a crowd with the words, "We have ruled the world before, and by Allah, the day will come when we will rule the entire world again! The day will come when we will rule America. The day will come when we rule Britain and the entire world!"
- British-born activist Abdul Rahman Saleem proclaiming, "You will take over the USA! You will take over the UK! You will take over Europe! You will defeat them all! You will get victory! You will take over Egypt! We trust in Allah!"
- Protesters outside the Danish embassy to Britain holding signs that read "Islam will dominate the world" and "Freedom go to hell."
- President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran stating, “Have no doubt... Allah willing, Islam will conquer what? It will conquer all the mountain tops of the world.”
In addition, Wilders included footage of a burqa-wearing woman being executed, female genital-mutilation, homosexuals being hanged, ethnic Albanians pulling the Cross off of a Serbian Orthodox Church in Kosovo and the beheading of American contractor Eugene Armstrong. There is also footage of 9/11, the bombings in London and Madrid, and headlines concerning the death threats made against former Muslims Ehsan Jami, Salman Rushdie and Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
On January 21st, the Court of Appeal in Amsterdam ordered “the criminal prosecution of the member of parliament Geert Wilders for the incitement to hatred and discrimination based on his statements in various media about Muslims and their belief.” In addition, the Court of Appeal considers criminal prosecution “obvious for the insult of Islamic worshippers because of the comparisons made by Wilders of the Islam with the Nazism.”
Mr. Wilders called the ruling a "black day for me and for freedom of speech.” He told the Dutch news agency, ANP, "I am shaken. I had absolutely not expected it.”
Comment: The first thing that needs to be pointed out is that Fitna is merely a compilation of substantiated facts. And facts of recent vintage, yet. How often do we find Catholic-haters, eager for grumble-fodder, ranging far and wide in their imaginary wayback machines, looking for some nasty incident perpetrated by disgruntled Catholics back in the 14th century? During The Passion of the Christ hysteria, every malcontent who knew how to use Google became an overnight expert on Church “history.”
No, Geert Wilders’ Fitna deals with contemporary history— history we have all lived (and are living) through. That makes his mission, not one of condemnation for its own sake, but an attempt to assess real, credible threats. The very fact that these threats are not obvious to many of today’s politicos and lawmakers alone justifies his labors.
Attorney and author Ezra Levant referred to the Amsterdam Court of Appeal’s prosecution of Wilders as “Holland's national suicide note.” Regarding the prosecution of Wilders for “the incitement to hatred and discrimination,” Mr. Levant notes:
Did you catch that? It's just like the execrable section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act. Incitement to... what? Violence? Murder? Riot? No. Incitement to hatred. Hatred is an emotion. And apparently in Holland, "making" someone feel that emotion is a crime. And inciting "discrimination" is, too. Not just discrimination itself, mind you. But inciting someone to discriminate.
In the days of the Old Testament, men who tried to warn their fellows of danger – danger to their lives, to their societies, to their land – were called “prophets.” Some were believed, some were persecuted. In a manner of speaking, it feels as though we live in another “age of prophets.” There are voices trying to speak out against the threat posed by aggressive Islam: Geert Wilders, Italy’s Northern League, Austria’s Suzanne Winter, Holland’s Ayaan Hirsi Ali and (the late) Theo van Gogh. And what happens? Wilders and Winter are being prosecuted for hate crimes. Ayaan Hirsi Ali lives in hiding because of death threats. Van Gogh is dead.
On February 12, 2009, the BBC reported that Geert Wilders had been denied entry into Great Britain by the Home Office, after being invited to the House of Lords for a screening of Fitna by Lord Pearson of the UK Independence Party. The Home Office claimed that European Union laws allowed Britain to ban entry to anyone who could “threaten public security.” According to Foreign Secretary David Miliband, “We have profound commitment to freedom of speech but there is no freedom to cry 'fire' in a crowded theatre and there is no freedom to stir up hate, religious and racial hatred, according to the laws of the land." A spokesman for Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced that Brown “fully supports” the decision by Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, prompting Wilders to call the Prime Minister “the biggest coward in Europe.” The screening of Fitna at the House of Lords went ahead as scheduled, but without the presence of Wilders.
Is there any bright spot in all this? Two recent incidents offer a small glimmer of hope. In December of 2008, the Organization of the Islamic Conference’s “defamation of religion resolution” was passed by the U.N. General Assembly. However, it passed by a margin of only 85-53, marking the first time that the number of countries supporting such a resolution fell behind the number of those voting against it or abstaining.
Also, on January 21st, the public prosecutor’s office of Bologna, Italy, confirmed that Mohamed Rafia Boukhbiza will have to answer to charges of public security violations after a complaint against him was lodged by an Italian politician. Boukhbiza organized protests against the Israeli offensive in Gaza in front of Catholic Churches in Milan and Bologna. During the protests, groups of Muslims gathered to pray in front of the Milan Cathedral (the “Duomo,” the second largest Catholic cathedral in the world) and Bologna’s Basilica of San Petronio. They also gathered at the Coliseum in Rome, site of the Good Friday Stations of the Cross.
According to the Italian news agency, ANSA (Jan. 23, 2009):
In the wake of the Milan pray-in, Defense Minister Ignazio La Russa staged a Catholic Mass in Piazza Duomo the following Sunday in order to “reclaim” the area, while the Northern League’s Attilio Fontana said he “would like to see what would happen if I went to recite the Rosary in Mecca.” Maurizio Gasparri, Senate whip for Premier Silvio Berlusconi’s People of Freedom (PDL) party, earlier this week said all three incidents were ”pseudo-prayers.”
“They have nothing to do with religion - they are threatening and intimidatory acts towards the Italian people,” he said, adding that those who took part should be ”identified and possibly expelled from the country.” A former interior minister, the PDL’s Beppe Pisanu, described the incidents as ”a fundamentalist operation, the preliminaries of terrorism.”
Maybe there is still hope.
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