As the producer of the film “Fitna” which compared passages of the Qu’ran to scenes of violence committed in the name of Islam, Wilders has long been a critic of the militant and aggressive “nature” of Islam.
The trial in Holland’s High Court, was prompted by Mr.Wilders calling the Koran “fascist” and comparing it to Hitler’s Mein Kampf.
Critics among Islamic believers and left wing politicians have accused Wilders of being a vile and hateful human being. They were hoping for a conviction and prison time for Wilders that would send a message to the world that criticism of Islam was hateful and would not be tolerated.
Mr.Wilders supporters are calling the verdict a “Victory for truth and Free speech.” To quote popular Forbes Magazine blogger Abigail R. Esman, “the findings in the Wilders case are reassurance that the ideals of the Enlightenment and of all democratic people stand strong.”
According to Bloomberg, Judge Marcel van Oosten criticized Wilders for using speech in “a hurtful and also shocking way.” The judge also said, “in the broadest context, you have to be able to propagate the message of such a film.”
The panel of Judges found that Mr. Wilders words were not spoken against Muslims but against principles found in Islam. This, according to the verdict, did not constitute hate speech but placed Mr.Wilder’s words and ideas in the context of the “general debate” over Religion, Morals and Society.
Guest post by Wolff Bachner