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Congress Invites Geert Wilders’ Fitna After Dutch Court Decides to ProsecuteCongress Invites Geert Wilders’ Fitna After Dutch Court Decides to Prosecute by ipinfo2
March 25, 2009, 6:10 am
Filed under: Front Page News, March Volume 2009, National, World | Tags:

By Bashirah A. Malik
Islamic Post Staff Writer

“I am a strong an advocate of First Amendment free speech. However, this is not about free speech, but rather an issue of propriety, timing and venue,” Common Dreams quoted Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN) as saying regarding the viewing of the film Fitna on Capitol Hill.
Fitna is a controversial film about the Holy Qur’an by Dutch Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders. The film made headlines and prompted angry protest across the Muslim World last March. Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende said at the time that the film wrongly equated Islam with violence and served “no purpose other than to offend.”
Mr Wilders’ visit to Washington to host the screening of the film came just after a Dutch court ordered prosecutors to put the right-wing politician on trial for making anti-Islamic statements. Common Dreams reports Mr. Wilders was denied entry by the British government in his attempts to promote the film there. Only 40 members of Congress came to the viewing on Capitol Hill. The Dutch government disavowed Mr. Wilders visit to the US and believes the release of the film “serves no purpose other than to cause offense.”
In 2007, Wilders apparently sought to incite Muslims by ranting against Holy Quran as a “fascist book,” calling for the sacred Islamic text to be banned, and comparing the Holy Quran to Adolf Hitler’s book Mein Kampf.
In a statement, the Amsterdam appeals court “ordered the prosecution of member of parliament Geert Wilders for inciting hatred and discrimination, based on comments by him in various media on Muslims and their beliefs.” The three judges in the case stated that they had weighed Wilders’ anti-Islamic rhetoric against his right to free speech, and ruled he had even gone beyond normal leeway given to politicians.
After the ruling, Wilder stated, ‘I had not expected it [this ruling].’ Gerard Spong, a prominent lawyer who joined Islamic groups in pushing for Wilders’ prosecution told reporters, “This is a happy day for all followers of Islam who do not want to be tossed on the garbage dump of Nazism.”
The court’s ruling reverses a decision made last year by the public prosecutor’s office, which said Mr. Wilder’s comments had been made outside parliament as a contribution to the debate on Islam in Dutch society and that no criminal offense had been committed. Because Wilders has not yet been charged, it is not clear what maximum penalty he could face if convicted.

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