“Dutch far-right member of parliament Geert Wilders was acquitted of all charges in his hate speech trial in Amsterdam. Judges found the populist politician’s comments against Islam may be offensive to many, but that they fall within the scope of protected free speech.
Supporters of Geert Wilders erupted into applause in the public gallery as the presiding judge acquitted the populist politician of all charges of hate speech and discrimination against Muslims.
Judges called some of Wilders’ comments crude and denigrating – but not illegal. Although they found Wilders’ warning about a “tsunami” of immigrants to be at the limit of what is permissible, they said he stayed within the bounds of the law – especially because his remarks were made during the Netherlands’ heated political debates on multi-culturalism.
For his part, Wilders said he is happy with the verdict and will continue to speak out against what he calls the threat of Islam.
“Now the good news is, it’s also legal to be critical about Islam, to speak publicly in a critical way about Islam, and this something that we need because the Islamization of our societies is a major problem and a threat to our freedom and I’m allowed to say so,” he said.