Geert Wilders’ trial shows how imperiled the freedom of speech really is.
How imperiled is the freedom of speech? Take this passage from Slate magazine: “In 2004, filmmaker Theo van Gogh was murdered after making anti-Muslim remarks, as was the anti-immigrant politician Pim Fortuyn in 2002. Why is there so much anti-Muslim rhetoric in the Netherlands?”
If Slate flipped those sentences, they’d have their answer. If there is any actual “anti-Muslim rhetoric” in the Netherlands, it is because those who dare to point out the outrages against human rights that Islamic law sanctions get murdered; and those who are still alive are vilified, marginalized, smeared, and put on trial – like Dutch politician and freedom fighter Geert Wilders, whose trial resumed Monday.
“I am on trial, but on trial with me is the freedom of expression of many Dutch citizens.” So said Wilders as his trial reopened in Amsterdam. Wilders faces a year in prison or a fine of up to 7,600 euros for supposedly inciting hatred against Muslims – which he has supposedly done by telling the truth about how Islamic jihadists use the texts and teachings of Islam themselves to incite hatred and violence against non-Muslims. If anyone should be on trial for “hate,” it should be the jihadist imams depicted in Wilders’ film Fitna – but in the hyper-politically correct Netherlands of today, the only offender is the non-Muslim who dared to call attention to the hatred they preach: Geert Wilders.
On Monday, after asserting that the freedom of expression of many Dutch citizens was on trial, Wilders continued: “I can assure you, I will continue proclaiming it.” He added: “I am sitting here as a suspect because I have spoken nothing but the truth. I have said what I have said and I will not take one word back, but that doesn’t mean I’ve said everything attributed to me.” Then he asserted the right to remain silent for the remainder of the proceedings -- whereupon the presiding judge, Jan Moors, claimed that Wilders had gotten a reputation for making bold proclamations but then refusing to discuss them, saying that he was “good in taking a stand and then avoiding a discussion.” Moors added: “By remaining silent, it seems you're doing that today as well.”
At that, Wilders’s attorney, Bram Moszkowicz, moved to have Moors removed for his bias, and the just-resumed trial ground to a halt. Wilders commented: “I thought I had a right to a fair trial, including the right to remain silent. It is scandalous that the judge passes comment on that. A fair trial is not possible with judges like that.”
A ruling will be made Tuesday on Moszkowicz’s motion, which, if granted, could delay the trial for months. But if the Dutch authorities had any sense of what is really at stake, they would drop all charges against Wilders and adjourn the trial for good. The Wilders trial is a turning point for the West: will Western authorities defend the hard-won principle of the freedom of speech as a bulwark against tyranny and the establishment of protected classes that enjoy rights that other citizens do not have, or will they – in the interests of suicidal political correctness -- allow Islamic supremacists to obliterate that freedom in the interests of establishing in the West the Sharia principle that Islam is not to be questioned or criticized, especially by non-Muslims?
If they succeed in doing this, Europeans and Americans will be rendered mute, and thus defenseless, in the face of the advancing jihad and attempt to impose Sharia on the West. It is no coincidence that one of the key elements of the laws for dhimmis, non-Muslims subjugated under Islamic rule, is that they are never critical of Islam, Muhammad, or the Qur’an. Thus this prosecution in Amsterdam not only aids the advance of Sharia in the West, but is itself an element of that advance.
This is part of an ongoing initiative by the 57-government Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). In 2008 the Secretary General of the OIC, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, issued a warning: “We sent a clear message to the West regarding the red lines that should not be crossed” regarding free speech about Islam and jihad terrorism. Even at that time, he reported success: “The official West and its public opinion are all now well-aware of the sensitivities of these issues. They have also started to look seriously into the question of freedom of expression from the perspective of its inherent responsibility, which should not be overlooked.”
Since then, Ihsanoglu must be more than pleased by how successful his offensive against the freedom of speech in the West is proving to be. Wilders is on trial for charges including having “intentionally offended a group of people, i.e. Muslims, based on their religion.” If intentionally offending someone is a criminal offense, numerous Islamic supremacists could end up in court, but of course that is not the purpose for which the law was drafted. The Dutch political establishment hopes to use the Wilders trial to stop his rise in Dutch politics, since he challenges so many of the core assumptions upon which current Dutch and European Union policy are based. Since one of those policies is unrestricted immigration from Muslim countries, Dutch officials hope to discredit Wilders’s work in exposing how Islamic jihadists use violent passages of the Qur’an to justify violence and supremacism.
Unfortunately for them, however, Wilders really is telling the truth: Islamic jihadists really do use the Qur’an to justify violence and supremacism, and as I show in my book The Complete Infidel’s Guide to the Koran, there is plenty in the Muslim holy book that they can use in this way. As my colleague Pamela Geller has noted, “Truth is the new hate speech” – and nowhere is that aphorism truer than in the trial of Geert Wilders. The Dutch authorities can jail and fine Wilders, and do their best to discredit him domestically and internationally, but there is one thing neither they nor anyone else can do: engage him in honest debate and prove him wrong. And so instead, we have this Stalinist show trial.
Wilders has stated the problem plainly: “I am being prosecuted for my political convictions. The freedom of speech is on the verge of collapsing. If a politician is not allowed to criticise an ideology anymore, this means that we are lost, and it will lead to the end of our freedom.”
Wilders’s words are true not just for the Netherlands, but for all of Europe – and ultimately for the United States of America as well.