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Wilders' Trial: Win One, Lose One
by Robert Spencer
On Tuesday, as his trial resumed in Amsterdam on various charges of offending Muslims, Dutch freedom fighter Geert Wilders won one victory and suffered one defeat. This is welcome news for Wilders personally, since any acquittal moves him closer to the end of these nightmarish proceedings; however, the ominous implications of his trial in general for the freedom of speech were reinforced on the same day, and those implications could have deleterious effects far beyond the Wilders trial itself.
First, the good news: public prosecutors Birgit van Roessel and Paul Velleman noted that the statements for which he is on trial referred to Islam and the Qur'an, not to Muslims as people – although they did add in the politically correct observation that Wilders' statements might nevertheless hurt Muslims' feelings. Despite that assertion, in a burst of logical thinking unusual in these proceedings, they recommended that since Wilders was speaking about Islamic texts and teachings and not Muslim people, the charge against him of group defamation should be dropped.
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