From Taiwan News
A Dutch court Wednesday overruled objections by an anti-immigration lawmaker and said his criminal trial for allegedly inciting hate against Muslims can proceed.
Geert Wilders, one of the most popular politicians in the Netherlands, was indicted on hate speech charges after making remarks comparing the Quran to Hitler’s “Mein Kampf,” branding Islam a violent religion, and calling for a ban on the Quran.
Wilders concedes the remarks are accurate but stands by them and says they are within the limits of freedom of speech.
The court rejected Wilders’ bid for dismissal, and said a challenge he mounted to the Amsterdam District Court’s jurisdiction is unfounded.
The court said in a statement it would set a date for the trial later this year. It also rejected most of Wilders’ proposed witness list, approving only three academics out of the 17 experts Wilders had asked to call if the case goes to trial.
Wilders, who has become a major political force in the Netherlands on an anti-immigration, anti-Islam platform, says his prosecution is an attack on his right to say what he thinks.
Muslim groups, who had long asked for public prosecutors to take up the case, say Wilders’ rhetoric goes too far and is worsening discrimination against them in the Netherlands. Freedom of religion and freedom from discrimination are guaranteed under Dutch law.