Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders has been acquitted of all hate crimes charges brought against him for his criticisms of Islam, though the judges condemned his remarks. Wilders’ Freedom Party is the third largest in parliament, making him an increasingly powerful player in Dutch politics.
“Today is a victory for freedom of speech. The Dutch are still allowed to speak critically about Islam, and resistance against Islamisation is not a crime. I have spoken, I speak and I shall continue to speak,” the Telegraph quoted Wilders as declaring.
Judge Marcel van Oosten told Wilders that his statements are “crude and denigrating,” “hurtful,” “shocking” and “on the edge of what is legally permissible.” However, he cannot be punished for them, it was decided.
Political scientist Andre Krouwel told Reuters that the court case has benefited Wilders.
“This has made him stronger politically. He is needed for a political majority, he is basically vice prime minister without even being in the government,” he said.
Wilders is planning on publishing a book next year that condemns Islam’s founder, Mohammed. He also hopes to release a film about Mohammed. His previous film, Fitna, resulted in death threats and contributed to his prosecution.
Last year, the Christian Action Network released ISLAM RISING: Geert Wilders’ Warning to the West. The film features a speech Wilders gave in the U.S. about the dangers facing Americans and includes Fitna.