I started City of Brass in March 2002 at Blogspot, and moved to Beliefnet in August 2008. Over a thousand posts and a million page views later, it is time to end this chapter and start a new one. However, I am not technically going anywhere – Beliefnet recently acquired Patheos, where I am going […]
Incendiary Dutch politician Geert Wilders will be brought to trial for comparing Islam to Nazism:
Geert Wilders made headlines in March 2008 for his short-film Fitna, which juxtaposed shots of the 9/11 attacks on the US with quotations from the Quran, the text Muslims believe to be divinely revealed.
In 2007 he had called for a ban on the Quran and compared Islam to Nazism.
On Wednesday, Amsterdam’s appeals court ordered his prosecution,
overruling the public prosecutor who had previously decided against a
summary of the court’s decision read: “The court considers this so
insulting for Muslims that it is in the public interest to prosecute
“The court also considers appropriate criminal prosecution for
insulting Muslim worshippers because of comparisons between Islam and
Nazism made by Wilders.”
I’m no fan of Wilders but this is indeed an affront against free speech. It should be noted though that the West’s own tradition of free speech is a recent invention, and almost entirely an American one. Europe has never been a bastion of free speech, with Holocaust denial laws (see the case of David Irving), bans on hijab, and opposition to mosque construction are just a few prominent examples of the double standard when it comes to “protected” speech for Jews and Christians, but not for muslims.
Personally, I would prefer to see all restrictions speech dropped – the best answer to bad speech is more speech, not less. As an American, we can criticize by comparison, but there is nothing profoundly or inherently anti-Western about silencing Wilders. Calling it dhimmitude is an excercise in denial; when the same self-styled defenders of Western ideals call for abolition of all speech laws in Europe, then we can take them seriously.