Dutch court acquits anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The New York Times reports that Geert Wilders, a right-wing Dutch politician who has said there is no such thing as “moderate Islam,” has been found not guilty of hate speech in the Netherlands.

Wilders had faced a possible year in prison on charges of “inciting hatred and discrimination against Muslims,” the Times said.

The First Amendment Center’s Charles C. Haynes wrote about Wilders and the global assault on free speech in a 2009 column in which he said that “verbal attacks on Islam and Muslims by people like Geert Wilders do have a negative impact on the lives of European Muslims by helping to create a climate of fear and intolerance. But attempts to put a lid on free speech make the problem worse, deepening anger and resentment toward Muslims.”

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