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?