Who’s (What’s) On Trial Here?

There is growing concern (well, in Western democracies, that is) regarding the trial in Holland, of Dutch Politician, Geert Wilders.

Geert Wilders (Credit Roel Wijnants/flckr)

Geert Wilders (Credit Roel Wijnants/flckr)

Why is he on trial? For insulting Islam. Yes, you read that right, he is on trial in Holland, no not Talibanistan, for insulting Islam…

So what did he say?
Wilders is a Dutch politician on trial for “insulting” Islam by comparing the Koran to Mein Kampf, and for saying that Moroccans commit many street robberies in the Netherlands. OK, if you wanted a quiet life, you probably wouldn’t have said that… well not quite in the same way, but, surely in a Western democracy, one is entitled to voice opinion? Especially when part of that opinion is based on fact (crime statistics). And that is the point that is getting many commentators interested in this obscure trial… Government interference with that much cherished democratic ideal (myth?)…. Freedom of Speech.

Now this is Opinion!
Incensed enough to video blog his opinion regarding this trial, is writer, Pat Condell. Pat is on record as saying that ” I believe religion in the modern world is out of control and is given far too much respect by people who should know better. It enjoys a status it hasn’t earned and doesn’t deserve, and it’s time we stopped pandering to it before it literally destroys us.”

His video, embedded below, should put you in the picture regarding his opinion of the trial of Wilders, but be warned it is strong stuff. Just as well he doesn’t live in Holland! We publish it here to stir debate, not to inflame nor to incite, and we do so, above all, because we defend and prize freedom of speech – one of the fundamental cornerstones of Western democracies.

Freedom of Speech
The trial of Geert Wilders has attracted little attention in the mainstream press outside Holland but the blogosphere is making up for this omission. For many feel (French News Online included) that the real issue on trial here, is the right to Freedom of Speech. As Douglas Murray an award-winning journalist notes on his blog in London’s Daily Telegraph: “There is nothing hyperbolic in stating that a trial (underway) in Holland will have unparalleled significance for the future of Europe. It is not just about whether our culture will survive, but whether we are even allowed to state the fact that it is being threatened.”

Related Sources:

Full details about the Wilders trial can be found Here. A statement he made at the start of his hearing is Here

Read Douglas Murray’s piece and worry.

You might also care to read Douglas Murray’s colleague, Ed West’s view.

Remember the Danish cartoons and the orchestrated uproar that ensued? Read some reaction to an attempt on the cartoonist’s life here.

And here in France of course, a related issue is currently making headlines … (See this page for a more detailed report)

Find out more about Pat Condell, visit his website

“The issues highlighted in this blog relate to principles under threat in the Wilders trial and may well affect readers used to their comfortable lifestyles in normally tolerant European cultures.”

Do you think the Dutch Government are right to prosecute Wilders?
Feel free to give us your opinion… leave a comment.

If you feel concerned about the issues raised by this blog and, of course, the trial of the unfortunate Mr. Wilders, spread the word. Share this with others, by publishing it on Facebook etc… use the widget below.

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