By Jeremy Havardi
October 4, 2010
Geert Wilders may not be everyone's cup of tea when it comes to criticising Islam. The maverick Dutch politician has compared the Koran to Mein Kampf and described Islam as 'fascistic,' claims that will strike even the most ardent opponents of Islamism as overblown. His argument in Fitna, where he accuses Islam of stoking terrorist violence, lacks the nuance and sophistication that is found in more considered critiques.
Though he is a staunch defender of Western freedoms, Wilders' interpretation of Islam in such black and white terms is highly questionable. But surely that is the point: his views should be questioned, debated, scrutinised and discussed in the court of public opinion, not in a court of law. No one, certainly not a leading politician, should be criminalised for merely having the 'wrong' opinion (if that is the case).
Yet in the twenty first century, Western freedoms are being subverted to the secular religion of political correctness. Offend a minority (particularly one that resorts to violence) and you are in real trouble, as Wilders has found out. Prosecutors in Holland have brought 5 charges of inciting hatred and discrimination against the Dutch MP. His comments, according to the Dutch Court of appeal, rendered a 'criminal prosecution obvious for the insult of Islamic worshippers.' Notice the word 'insult.' In PC Europe, insulting Muslims by labelling the Koran 'fascistic' is tantamount to a hate crime. No wonder that Wilders has stated: 'The freedom of expression of at least 1.5 million people is standing trial together with me'.
Had Wilders called for Muslims to be killed, it would have been quite right for him to be put on trial and convicted of inciting hatred. If he had called for mosques to be looted or burnt, the same sanction would have applied. It is people and property that need protection under the law, not ideas. Islam does not deserve special treatment, nor can Muslims claim the right not to be offended. Has Richard Dawkins found himself in the dock for launching his scathing attacks on Christianity? Certainly not, and quite right too. But then Dawkins has attacked a majority faith, and one which is castigated by the high priests of multiculturalism.
So in one of the most tolerant nations on earth, renowned throughout the world for its love of freedom and democracy, a leading politician is standing trial for his opinions, while Western politicians remain silent. How poor Voltaire would be spinning in his grave.