In an unsurprising but disheartening capitulation to Islamic sensitivity, Dutch freedom fighter Geert Wilders has been declared guilty of hate speech and inciting racial discrimination for leading a chant calling for “fewer, fewer” Moroccans in the Netherlands.
As reported by the UK Telegraph, prosecutors had asked judges to fine Wilders 5,000 euros as punishment, but Presiding Judge Hendrik Steenhuis said the court would not impose any sentence because the conviction was punishment enough.
Wilders, head of the PVV Freedom Party and invariably described in the news media as a far-rightwing politician, was not present but his lawyer, Geert-Jan Knoops, immediately announced that there would be an appeal.
The case against Wilders, which took 20 months to come to a verdict, was built on 6,500 official complaints after he led a party rally during a local election campaign in The Hague in March 2014, asking whether there should be “more or fewer Moroccans in the Netherlands.” The Telegraph has details:
The crowd’s response of “fewer, fewer”, was clearly organised, said a judge at the secure court at Schiphol Judicial Complex, near Amsterdam, ruling that Wilders had breached the boundaries of even a politician’s freedom of speech.
“It doesn’t matter that Wilders gave another message afterwards [saying he was referring only to criminal Moroccans and benefits claimants],” said the judge. “The message that evening from the podium, via the media, was loud and proud and did its work…The group was collectively dismissed as inferior to other Dutch people.”
Wilders said, in a statement in English posted on his YouTube channel, “I still cannot believe it, but I have been convicted because I asked a question about Moroccans. The Netherlands has become a sick country. The judge who convicted me [has] restricted the freedom of speech for millions of Dutch. I will never be silent. I am not a racist and neither are my voters.”
Michiel Pestman, lawyer for some of the complainants who helped bring the case, said: “This is the first time that a court has said that minorities need special protection and even a politician should be very careful about what he says.” [Emphasis added] In other words, we must make sure that free speech applies only to protected minorities, by which he means Muslims.
Lucien Nix, a solicitor for the council of Moroccan mosques in Holland said, “The Netherlands can take a deep breath of relief. Moroccan Dutch people have felt robbed of their dignity and a heightened sense of discrimination. We have waited for this for a long time.”
Abdou Menebhi, one of the complainants, told The Telegraph, “Half a million people feel the threat of Wilders every day. This gives us trust in the legal process.”
What about the millions of Dutch, for whom Wilders speaks, who feel the threat of their society being Islamized?
Watch the video of Geert Wilders' reaction to his conviction below: