Anti-Islamic Dutch Lawmaker Faces Hate Speech Trial

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Right-wing Dutch MP Geert Wilders said on Wednesday that freedom of speech in his country was threatened, as he went on trial in Amsterdam charged with inciting hatred and discrimination against Muslims.

The Freedom Party leader, who has faced death threats over his political views, made the film "Fitna" in 2008 which accused the Koran of inciting violence and mixed images of terrorist attacks with quotations from the Islamic holy book.

He was also charged because of his outspoken remarks in the media, such as an opinion piece in a Dutch daily in which he compared Islam to fascism and the Koran to Adolf Hitler's book "Mein Kampf".

"I believe in my heart and soul that freedom in the Netherlands is being threatened," Wilders told the court. "It is not only our right, but our obligation as free people to speak out against every ideology that restricts freedom."

In a five-minute speech to the court in which he also quoted Thomas Jefferson, author of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, Wilders predicted future generations would ask how "we in 2010, in this place, in this room" defended freedom.

The prosecutor, reacting to the many complaints about Wilders, originally said he was protected by the right to free speech, but a court overruled him and ordered that Wilders be charged. The MP faces a maximum of one year and three months imprisonment if convicted on both counts.

Both prosecution and defense said the case lies at the heart of the constitutional state, exploring the line between the right to freedom of speech and the ban on discrimination in the traditionally tolerant Netherlands.

Defense lawyer Bram Moszkowicz challenged the court's jurisdiction and the prosecution's case, saying that the Supreme Court should handle the case because Wilders was a politician.

"Wilders has made all his comments in his capacity as a member of parliament," Moszkowicz said, adding that Wilders had the right to comment on developments in society.

Prosecutor Birgit van Roessel said Wilders' remarks must be tested against the "existing legal framework."

COMBATIVE

A fierce opponent of Islam in European culture, Wilders -- with his trademark blonde hair -- is popular among Dutch voters worried about immigration and its impact on Dutch society.

The Freedom Party became the second-largest Dutch party in the European Parliament last year, and recent polls indicated it could become the biggest party in the Dutch parliament in national elections due in May 2011.

"I remain combative and still convinced that this political process will only lead to an acquittal," Wilders has said.

Outside the court, a crowd of protesters gathered behind police barriers to voice support for Wilders, carrying banners saying "Freedom Yes" and "Wilders trial, a political trial".

An anti-racism group placed 100 comments by Wilders online at www.watwilwilders.nl to back its allegation that he is responsible for xenophobia and discrimination and that his remarks are not only criticism of a religion.

Official figures show Muslims made up about 5 percent of the Dutch population in 2007-08.

The court must now rule on the challenge to its jurisdiction and adjourned the case to February 3 when it will decide how to proceed.

Besides expert witnesses, Moszkowicz plans to call Mohammed Bouyeri, the convicted killer of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh. Wilders has said Bouyeri is "living proof" that Islam inspires violence, but the prosecution is opposed to Bouyeri giving evidence.

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On Thursday's radio program, Grace Smith and her father, Andy, joined Glenn Beck on the phone and provided a first-hand account of Grace's refusal to wear a mask at school.

Smith, 16, began a maskless protest after her school district in Laramie, Wyoming, decided to implement a mask mandate. As a result, Grace received three suspensions, was issued two $500-citations, and was eventually arrested.

"How long were you in jail?" Glenn asked.

Grace said was taken to jail but was never booked nor was she was placed in a jail cell.

Glenn commended Grace's father, Andy, for raising such a "great citizen" and asked if it was Grace's idea to protest. Andy said it was Grace's idea, explaining that they took the position of arguing on the grounds of civil rights rather than the efficacy of wearing a mask.

Grace has since withdrawn from public school and started a home school program. She also told Glenn that she will continue to fight the school district, legally.

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It seems the Left wants a civil war and some on the Right want a national divorce. The country is split right now unlike anything Glenn Beck has ever witnessed. There are two sides: Those who want to fundamentally change this country and those who believe in KEEPING the experiment of liberty that the Founding Founders intended.

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An Afghan interpreter who helped save then-Sen. Joe Biden's life in 2008 was among those stranded in Afghanistan after Biden's troop withdrawal. He has now escaped the country with his family, but not with President Biden's help.

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A shocking new report by The Daily Wire reveals that the furious father whose arrest at a school board meeting likely sparked the call for the FBI to investigate anti-CRT parents like domestic terrorists was furious for good reasons: The Loudoun County School Board allegedly tried to cover up his daughter's rape.

Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah) joined Glenn Beck on the radio program Tuesday to discuss the incident and explain why he joined 60 lawmakers in a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland demanding answers for why the FBI is targeting parents.

"We want to know ... what kind of coordination took place between the White House, activist groups and teachers unions, and the Department of Justice," Stewart told Glenn. "Because we have evidence that there was [coordination] and, in fact, that the White House are the ones who initiated this. They asked for these activist groups to write this inflammatory letter to the Department of Justice saying they were 'intimidated' and that they 'felt threatened', giving the Department of Justice Attorney General Garland, the excuse to say, 'Okay, well, we have to respond'."

Stewart went on to say he believes the federal government would only involve the FBI in such an issue if its purpose is to silence and intimidate parents concerned about the "poison" being taught to their kids in school. So, what can he and the other representatives who disagree with the Biden administration's overreach of power do to stop it?

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