It’s all over, the fat lady has sung, Geert Wilders has been vindicated, and it took over a year to do it. Let criticism of Islam ring!
UPDATE: The Wall Street Journal: Court Acquits Wilders in Hate-Speech Case
A Dutch court acquitted right-wing politician Geert Wilders of hate speech and discrimination Thursday, ruling that his anti-Islam statements, while offensive to many Muslims, fell within the bounds of legitimate political debate.
Presiding judge Marcel van Oosten said Mr. Wilders’ claims that Islam is violent by nature, and his calls to halt Muslim immigration and ban the Muslim holy book, the Quran, must be seen in a wider context of debate over immigration policy. The court said his public statement couldn’t be directly linked to increased discrimination against Dutch Muslims. He looked unmoved as the verdict was read, but his supporters in the public gallery hugged one another and clapped after the acquittal.
Mr. Wilders, one of the most powerful and popular politicians in the Netherlands, was accused of inciting hatred and discrimination against Muslims through numerous public statements, and with insulting them by comparing Islam with Nazism. “I’m incredibly happy with this acquittal on all counts,” Mr. Wilders said outside the courtroom. “It’s not only an acquittal for me, but a victory for freedom of expression in the Netherlands. Fortunately you’re allowed to discuss Islam in public debate and you’re not muzzled in public debate. An enormous burden has fallen from my shoulders.” The court found that Mr. Wilders’ rhetoric was “on the edge of what is legally permissible” but not illegal.
H/T: Person of the Book and Fjordman
UPDATE: Sheik Yer’Mami just sent this to the TT: Just got this in the comments:
Hearty congrats to Geert Wilders and his team but , I hesitate to celebrate as it appears the opposition hasn’t wasted any time making clear their intentions to continue harrassing him . . .Via Forbes:
” While even the public defender’s office has previously requested he be cleared of all charges, the plaintiffs in the case are now considering bringing the issue to the UN and European courts.
For anyone who believes in the sanctity of free expression, such an action suggests a true threat to democracy that must not be allowed. For the moment, however, the findings in the Wilders case are reassurance that the ideals of the Enlightenment and of all democratic people stand strong. “
Punting to the UN . . .it ain’t over till the fat lady sings.