Geert Wilders Wins a Retrial in Dutch Anti-Islam Case

29 10 2010

By Seoren Kern at Hudson New York:

In a stunning turn of events, a Dutch court has summarily removed the judges presiding over the anti-Islam hate-speech trial of Geert Wilders, after it emerged that one of the judges attempted to influence an expert witness before the trial. A hastily convened judicial panel agreed with Wilders that the judges were biased against him and ordered a retrial, sending the closely-watched case back to square one before an entirely new panel of judges. Wilders, who has called the trial a farce, a disgrace and an assault on free speech, welcomed the decision, saying: “This gives me a new chance with a new fair trial.”

Wilders is facing five charges of inciting racial and religious hatred for remarks which include equating Islam with fascism and others calling for a ban on the Koran and a tax on Muslim headscarves. Viewed more broadly, however, the Wilders trial represents a landmark case that likely will establish the limits of free speech in a country where the politically correct elite routinely seek to silence public discussion about the escalating problem of Muslim immigration.

The Wilders trial, which began at the Amsterdam District Court on October 4, was scheduled to end on October 22, with the verdict from the panel of three judges due on November 5. But the trial unexpectedly collapsed in disarray on its final scheduled day of hearings after Dutch newspapers reported that Tom Schalken, one of the judges who ordered Wilders to stand trial, had dinner with Hans Jansen, a leading Dutch expert on Islam who also happens to be a defense witness. Jansen said that Schalken had improperly tried “to convince me of the correctness of the decision to take Wilders to court.” (An English-language translation of Jansen’s accusations can be found here.)

Read the rest.

Remove queen from government, says Wilders

29 10 2010


Queen Beatrix should no longer be officially part of the government, PVV leader Geert Wilders said during the debate on the new government on Tuesday.

Wilders, whose party has agreed to back the minority government in a number of policy areas, says he will introduce draft legislation in an effort to get the queen officially removed as head of state.

According to the Dutch constitution, the monarch is officially head of the government, but in practice, it is the prime minister (minister-president in Dutch) who leads.

 Read the rest.

Meanwhile, from Radio Netherlands Worldwide: Netherlands divided over role of queen.

Amsterdam mayor shifts pro-Wilders demo from centre

29 10 2010


Amsterdam mayor Eberhard van der Laan has shifted a pro-Geert Wilders demonstration, organised by the English Defence League, to the western port area in order to minimise the chance of riots.

Van der Laan said he had concrete evidence that members of the far-right EDL were coming to the Netherlands to look for a confrontation with both the police and anti-racist demonstrators.

The demonstration was due to be held on the Museumplein.

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Merkel publicly distances herself from Wilders

29 10 2010


German Chancellor Angela Merkel has expressed her irritation at Geert Wilders’ praise of her on Tuesday during the Dutch parliamentary debate on the programme of the new government.

Referring to the Chancellor’s recent comments that that multiculturalism has failed completely in Germany, the leader of the Dutch Freedom Party said that the German Christian Democrats are taking the lead in criticism of Islam, and that it “breaks a taboo.”

Mr Wilders’ comments have clearly aroused irritation in Berlin. German Government spokesman Steffen Seibert responded on Wednesday that the Chancellor cannot be described as a critic of Islam. He stressed that Ms Merkel naturally has respect for a major world religion. “The chancellor has certainly not said anything designed to attract support from that direction,” said Mr Seibert.

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Twists And Turns In Wilders Speech Trial

28 10 2010

Here is an article that I, dear reader, have just written for a fine up-and-coming online magazine called The Propagandist on the Wilders trial: Twists And Turns In Wilders Speech Trial. Check it out, huh?

Here’s an excerpt:

In Holland, things have to get worse before they can get better. At least, such is the case with Geert Wilders, the Dutch politician being brought up on charges of group insult and inciting hatred and discrimination because of his skeptical, even hostile, view of Islam.There are obvious reasons why a politician being prosecuted for his words and opinions on religion should be a disturbing sight in a country with a liberal background like Holland. That’s particularly so in this case, where the odds seem rather stacked against the defendant.

For instance, the outgoing Justice Minister for Holland, Hirsch Ballin, seems to have had some personal involvement in Geert Wilders’ prosecution. Not only that, but Hirsch is a member of the Christian Democrat CDA party, which recently joined with the liberal VVD party in a coalition backed by Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party (PVV). This coalition was opposed by Ballin, who is a vocal critic of Wilders.

Need another example? During a screening of Geert Wilders’ Islam-skeptic film, Fitna, as part of the court proceedings in his case, one of judges presiding made what could be seen as a biased remark. During the proceedings, one of the complainants present said that she did not want to see Fitna, to which Justice Jan Moors said: “I can understand that.” This prompted a rebuke from Wilders’ lawyer which Moors brushed aside by saying that he was not passing judgment on the film with his comment. Despite his assurances, one can see how his words could easily be construed as criticism.

Another example? Alright. Frans Bauduin, the president of the court of substitution which ruled that certain statements by one of the judges handling the Wilders case were not prejudiced against Wilders, also happens to have a stake in the outcome of Wilders’ trial. Bauduin serves as a board member for a group called the Morocco Fund, which works to stimulate Moroccan development aid. The Morocco Fund exists thanks to government funding, which might well come into question should Geert Wilders’ Islam-skeptic PVV continue to exert influence in the Dutch parliament.

In other words, we’re seeing what could be perceived as conflicts of interest down the line.

Read the rest here.

Come to Amsterdam. Support Geert Wilders.

27 10 2010

Via Vlad Tepes:

Not wild about Wilders? Populists’ anti-Islam message has European Jewish leaders worried

27 10 2010

From JTA:

BERLIN (JTA) — Geert Wilders, the rock star of European politics, is riding the crest of a populist tsunami.

As the pro-Israel founder of Holland’s Party of Freedom lets loose recently in Berlin, shouting that Islam is a threat to Germany’s identity, democracy and prosperity, his audience of 500 reacts with an evangelical zeal, offering big-time applause and standing ovations.

“Stand by the side of those who are threatened by Islam, like the State of Israel and its Jewish citizens,” he exhorts the crowd.

This isn’t a Jewish event, though a guest speaker is former Israeli Knesset member Eli Cohen of the nationalist Yisrael Beiteinu Party.

Ethnic Germans comprise much of the crowd Oct. 2 at the Hotel Berlin. Their chief bugaboo? The failure of Muslims to fit in to mainstream society.

Someone, in this case Wilders, has allowed them to vent their frustration (critics would say racist views). And for the crowd, having an Israeli join them seems to make things more kosher, as the anti-immigrant rhetoric has been associated typically with far-right extremists.

Wilders’ dismissal of “so-called ‘Islamophobia,’” as he calls it, also supports those who say the real problem is Muslim anti-Semitism.

In recent weeks several populist parties — including Wilders’ — have gained parliamentary seats or ministry positions in European countries. Even mainstream leaders such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel have decided to weigh in on “the Muslim integration problem.”

Pure politics, critics say.

So why are so many Jewish leaders in Europe not wild about Wilders and his ilk?

Populists “want a Sweden for the Swedes, France for the French and Jews to Israel,” says Serge Cwajgenbaum, secretary general of the European Jewish Congress.

“Islamism certainly is a danger to the Jews and to Western democracy,” offers Stephan Kramer, secretary general of the Central Council of Jews in Germany. “The way to fight [Islamists] is not, however, to demonize and ostracize all Muslims.”

Read the rest.