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Featuring Beyond Wilders’ Free Speech
Wilders acquitted of inciting hatred and discrimination
Geert Wilders: In Defense of ‘Hurtful’ Speech – WSJ.com
I was tried for a thought crime despite being an elected politician and the leader of the third-largest party in the Dutch parliament.
Dutch populist politician Geert Wilders was acquitted of inciting hatred of Muslims in a court ruling on Thursday that may strengthen his political influence and exacerbate tensions over immigration policy.
THE last time he took the stand in court, Geert Wilders, the enfant terrible of Dutch politics, promised to continue speaking publicly, even if it cost him his freedom. He was visibly relieved to discover today that no such sacrifice would be demanded of him. This morning an Amsterdam court acquitted him of five counts of hate speech and discrimination.
A court in the Netherlands has found the influential politician Geert Wilders innocent of charges of fomenting hatred and discrimination against Muslims. The decision is a challenge both to the rule of law and to Dutch politicians, says Cas Mudde.
Wilders’s acquittal may have attracted headlines, but the truth is that the social and political ground have been shifting in the supposedly tolerant society for years. Last year, Wilders’s Party for Freedom won 15 percent of the vote in national elections, making it the third largest in parliament. And his ideas are slowly creeping into mainstream politics: The Netherlands has some of the strictest immigration laws in Europe, and has banned face-covering attire like the niqab.
Supporters of Geert Wilders erupted into applause in the public gallery of the court as presiding judge Marcel van Oosten acquitted the populist politician of all charges of hate speech and discrimination against Muslims.
Controversial Dutch politician Geert Wilders was acquitted of inciting hatred against Muslims by a court in Amsterdam on Thursday. But the right-wing populist’s statements and the verdict have reignited the debate over free speech.
Most Dutch newspapers are content with the verdict. NRC writes in an editorial: “Let the voters decide about the opinions and remarks of the PVV leader and let’s have the debate with him in the place where it should be: in the political arena.” Trouw supports the court’s ruling: “No one in their right mind, who feels strongly about freedom of political and social debate, hoped that he would be convicted.” The left-leaning daily De Volkskrant agrees: “Wilders’s acquittal on all points proves that freedom of speech in the Netherlands has a broad definition.”
Ties Prakken, a lawyer who represented immigrant and antiracist complainants, agreed that “there is no appeal possible in the Netherlands,” and said she would instead bring the case to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in Geneva, accusing the Dutch government of failing to protect people from incitement to discrimination or violence.
“We have a reasonable case,” Ms. Prakken said, adding, “there is some case law in our favor there.”
“It’s not only an acquittal for me,” The Associated Press quoted Mr. Wilders as telling his supporters, “but a victory for freedom of expression in the Netherlands. Fortunately, you’re allowed to discuss Islam in public debate and you’re not muzzled in public debate. An enormous burden has fallen from my shoulders.”
A Dutch court acquitted populist politician Geert Wilders of hate speech and discrimination last week, Associated Press reported.
Very good news, indeed.
This entire episode, in which the Netherlands’ growing Muslim population tried to tighten its stranglehold on yet another country by wrapping its own laws around its neck, can be a lesson to the world.
Now the powers of political correctness will actually have to debate him on the issues instead of silencing him through the courts. (What a novel idea! Public debate of controversial ideas. What will they think of next?)
Wilders, Freedom Party and anti-islam rhetoric
The intolerance of the tolerant | openDemocracy
The advance of populist anti-Islamic forces in the liberal bastions of northern Europe – Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden – appears to reflect a betrayal of these societies’ renowned social tolerance. But there is a more subtle logic at work, says Cas Mudde.
Cas Mudde was quite right to point out recently how liberal arguments are being used in the interests of illiberal attacks on Muslims. However, in the Dutch case this reflects anything but a progressive national consensus
The high-profile Dutch politician Geert Wilders is closer to mainstream centre-right politics in the Netherlands than his hardline rhetoric about Islam might suggest, says Cas Mudde.
David Cameron is not the only European centre-right politician to attack multiculturalism or blame mass immigration for creating pressures on the welfare state. The leaders of centre-right parties across Europe are falling over each other to denounce multiculturalism and propose a new round of protectionist measures against migrant workers.
Right-wing populist parties tend to be anti-multinational and anti-intellectual: they endorse nationalistic, nativist, and chauvinistic beliefs, embedded – explicitly or coded – in common sense appeals to a presupposed shared knowledge of ‘the people’.
Geert Wilders is slowly but surely making Islamophobia an accepted element of political rhetoric in the Netherlands — and he’s got his eyes on the United States, next.
The populist anti-government movement might be a uniquely American phenomenon, but it’s not too hard to find its influence elsewhere.
European leaders are attacking ‘multiculturalism’ in a transparent ploy to appeal to far-right voters. But they’re threatening decades of progress in reaching out to Muslim minorities.
“Under what conditions does freedom of speech become freedom to hate?” Judith Butler recently asked. Here I will explore these issues in light of recent developments concerning the freedom of speech in Norway. I will argue that applying a cosmopolitan liberal approach to freedom of speech (i.e., along U. S. First Amendment lines) in a European context in which anti-Muslim and anti-immigration discourses are becoming ever more poisonous and pervasive risks underestimating the power dynamics inherent to the practice of free speech in contemporary Europe as well as overestimating the “mainstream” political and intellectual will to mobilize against the populist right-wing’s instrumentalized Islamophobia.
Geert Wilders should not be on trial for his words on Islam. But mainstream politicians must confront and not appease him
Thus, it seems that those invested in the idea that conflicts over speech and the sacred reveal some deep and troubling incommensurability—not over whether “blasphemous” speech ought to be prohibited by the law (Mahmood does not argue for this, unlike, say, Peter Danchin), but rather over the background presuppositions about what kinds of speech can injure, how they injure, and why—are not looking broadly or carefully enough at public and legal discourse in Europe. I cannot see much difference at all between how Mahmood characterizes the injury felt by (some) pious Muslims at the defamation of the Prophet and how Judge Riddle and his witness describe the injury felt by “typical, mild-mannered” Britons at the burning of poppies during a commemorative ceremony.
Religious Reason and Secular Affect: An Incommensurable Divide?
Any academic discussion of religion in the present moment must countenance the shrill polemics that have followed from the events of the past decade—including 9/11, the subsequent war on terror, and the rise of religious politics globally. What was once a latent schism between religious and secular worldviews has now become an incommensurable divide, and protagonists from both sides posit an ominous standoff between strong religious beliefs and secular values. Indeed, a series of international events, particularly around Islam, are often seen as further evidence of this incommensurability.
Despite this polarization, more reflective voices in the current debate have tried to show how the religious and the secular are not so much immutable essences or opposed ideologies as they are concepts that gain a particular salience with the emergence of the modern state and attendant politics—concepts that are, furthermore, interdependent and necessarily linked in their mutual transformation and historical emergence. Viewed from this perspective, as a secular rationality has come to define law, statecraft, knowledge production, and economic relations in the modern world, it has also simultaneously transformed the conceptions, ideals, practices, and institutions of religious life. Secularism here is understood not simply as the doctrinal separation of the church and the state but the rearticulation of religion in a manner that is commensurate with modern sensibilities and modes of governance. To rethink the religious is also to rethink the secular and its truth-claims, its promise of internal and external goods.
The British and most of the American press have been right, on balance, not to republish the Danish cartoons that millions of furious Muslims protested against in violent and terrible destruction around the world. Reprinting would very likely have meant—and could still mean—more people killed and more property destroyed. It would have caused many British and American Muslims great pain because they would have been told by other Muslims that the publication was intended to show contempt for their religion, and though that perception would in most cases have been inaccurate and unjustified, the pain would nevertheless have been genuine. True, readers and viewers who have been following the story might well have wanted to judge the cartoons’ impact, humor, and offensiveness for themselves, and the press might therefore have felt some responsibility to provide that opportunity. But the public does not have a right to read or see whatever it wants no matter what the cost, and the cartoons are in any case widely available on the Internet.
In his three 2009 Holmes Lectures published here, Professor Waldron seeks to describe and defend laws forbidding group defamation — what we commonly refer to as “hate speech” — as affirming the basic dignity of each member of society. Part I defends the characterization of hate speech as group defamation. It argues that hate speech impugns its victims’ standing as equal members of society. Part II describes hate speech regulation as the protection of a fragile public good: the assurance offered by each member of society to all of its members that they can live free of fear, discrimination, violence, and the like. Part III defends the views articulated in Parts I and II from various criticisms, particularly those of Professor Ronald Dworkin. Dworkin argues that forbidding hate speech may result in a loss of democratic legitimacy for other laws. But Professor Waldron argues that with sufficient safeguards the loss is vanishingly small, and well worth the concomitant gains. As well, prohibitions on hate speech should only extend to issues that are “settled,” such as race, rather than issues that are currently controversial, which should further allay concerns that hate speech regulation will foreclose freedom or democratic debate.
IF it were not for his hatred of Islam, Geert Wilders would have remained a provincial Dutch parliamentarian of little note.
In this volume, four leading thinkers of our times confront the paradoxes and dilemmas attending the supposed stand-off between Islam and liberal democratic values. Taking the controversial Danish cartoons of Mohammad as a point of departure, Talal Asad, Wendy Brown, Judith Butler, and Saba Mahmood inquire into the evaluative frameworks at stake in understanding the conflicts between blasphemy and free speech, between religious taboos and freedoms of thought and expression, and between secular and religious world views. Is the language of the law an adequate mechanism for the adjudication of such conflicts? What other modes of discourse are available for the navigation of such differences in multicultural and multi-religious societies? What is the role of critique in such an enterprise? These are among the pressing questions this volume addresses.
That’s Offensive! examines the common assertion that to criticize someone else’s deeply held ideas or beliefs is inherently offensive. This idea, Stefan Collini argues, is unfortunately reinforced by two of the central requirements of an enlightened global politics: treating all people with equal respect and trying to avoid words or deeds that compound existing social disadvantages. In this powerfully argued book, Collini identifies a confused form of relativism and a well-meaning condescension at the heart of such attitudes. Instead, Collini suggests that one of the most profound ways to show our respect for other people is by treating them as capable of engaging in reasoned argument and thus as equals in intellect and humanity.
Editorial: Freedom to abuse? – Arab News
Where is Europe headed? With every passing day, the continent appears to walk back into the Middle Ages, surrendering its much-acclaimed freedom of faith and multiculturalism. The acquittal of Dutch politician Geert Wilders on charges of inciting hatred and discrimination against Muslims has come as a shock to Muslims around the world.
Legal experts also expressed their doubt whether “a political debate” belonged in a courtroom. When the charges were pressed, the public prosecution refused to pursue Wilders saying it did not believe in a successful outcome to this case, however insulting Wilders’ remarks were seen to be.
This is the first of two stories focusing on rape as a tool of war. The second story looks at the untold stories of rape in the Holocaust. Both stories contain graphic language; discretion is advised.
This is the second of two stories focusing on rape as a tool of war.
Mainstream Israeli and international media argued endlessly, as though in a state of reverie, about whether Palestinian demonstrators who threw rocks should be considered unarmed, non-violent or violent. Absent from the conversation was the fact that Israel is rapidly increasing a programme of military repression against demonstrations in a last-ditch effort to dominate the narrative of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The Muslim Brotherhood is struggling with more dissent in its ranks after a group of young members broke away from the Islamist organization’s political party to form a secular party that is more inclusive of other cultures and religions.
I’d rather use my influence and power, in concert with other members of American civil society, to actively and nonviolently resist policies I consider abominable.
Stéphane Lacroix, a scholar of Wahabism and Islamist movements, spent a large part of last year in Egypt researching the Salafi movement, and he has close relations with prominent Islamists. In early June he described intimate meetings and dinners he’d just had with some of the Salafist leaders. “In many ways the Salafi battle has been won,” he said. “Certainly the conservative one has. To people like Abou Elela Mady”—the leader of the al-Wasat party—”it’s a question of which of the conservatives can win more votes.”
In both cases Queer Arab and African voices are being co-opted by white men. With the help of a handfull of collaborators both on the continent and in the Diaspora they continually attempt to discredit our voices but worse grossly undermine grassroots struggles and take credit for any successes and acts of resistance. Queer African voices like our Queer Arab sisters and brothers..
In late May, two Iraqi nationals, who were in the U.S. legally, were arrested in Kentucky and indicted on a variety of Terrorism crimes. In The Washington Post today, GOP Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell — writing under the headline: “Guantanamo is the place to try terrorists” — castigates Attorney General Eric Holder for planning to try the two defendants in a civilian court on U.S. soil rather than shipping them to Guantanamo.
Two traditions clashed in the Dutch parliament on Wednesday evening: religious tolerance versus animal rights. The one rooted in centuries of Dutch history, the other a new development that seems to have rapidly become an element of 21st-century Dutch identity.
Eindelijk heb ik dan de schuldige gevonden. De teleurstelling is schuldig. Ik heb hiermee ook bewezen dat een freaking GeenStijl-stuk het makkelijkste is wat er te schrijven is. Geef maar iets de schuld en verzin er een verhaal om heen. Al heb ik het nog te veel onderbouwd voor GeenStijl begrippen. De helft van de mensen slikt het toch wel voor zoete koek. Ze sluiten zich allemaal achter je aan. Niemand weet of ik het meen of niet! Een gedeelte zou mij verrot schelden. Er is ook een gedeelte wat mij gelijk gaat geven. Zo is de ster geboren. Of ik meen wat hier boven staat? Voor jullie een vraag voor mij een weet!
Sheikh Fawaz heeft in zijn vrijdagpreek een reactie gegeven op het oordeel van de rechtbank in de zaak Wilders. De Sheikh vindt het oordeel een belediging voor de moslims.
De democratie begon in de achttiende eeuw met praten, met een gesprek waarvan niemand werd uitgesloten. Die discussie tussen gelijken, en niet het individuele recht op vrije meningsuiting, is volgens politiek filosoof Judith Vega de absolute kern van onze democratie.
Bij het debat over het verbod op onverdoofd ritueel slachten speelde ‘het rapport van de universiteit van Wageningen’ een prominente rol. Joodse instanties willen de auteur nu onder ede horen over hoe het tot stand is gekomen.
De politieke kracht van het verbod op de rituele slacht is vooral de symboolwaarde: dierenrechten winnen terrein.
Het SMN is zeer teleurgesteld in de uitspraak van de rechter in de strafzaak tegen PVV-voorman Geert Wilders. We respecteren de uitspraak van de rechter, maar constateren ook dat de anti-moslim uitspraken van Wilders blijkbaar juridisch toelaatbaar zijn. Dat is teleurstellend. Het SMN vindt dat op basis van uitlatingen van de heer Wilders, er grond was om te worden veroordeeld voor discriminatie en aanzetten tot haat.
Het Nederlands/Marokkaans Netwerk tegen racisme en voor sociale cohesie heeft met grote teleurstelling en verbazing kennis genomen van de uitspraak door de rechtbank in de zaak tegen Wilders. Dat laat het Netwerk weten in een persbericht.
Het Netwerk schrijft:” De Marokkaanse gemeenschap is verontrust over de uitspraak, die zal leiden tot een grotere verdeeldheid, meer islamofobie en verdergaande polarisatie. Moslims en andere minderheden zullen nog meer schade gaan ondervinden van de uitspraken van Wilders, die blijkbaar onbestraft gedaan kunnen worden.”
Op basis van eerder onderzoek in de VS werd tot nu toe verondersteld dat mensen in etnisch diverse samenlevingen minder nauwe banden met anderen onderhouden. Ook zouden ze minder deelnemen aan het sociale leven. Onderzoek gefinancierd door de Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (NWO) wijst nu echter uit dat de aanwezigheid van niet-Westerse immigranten in Europa geen negatieve gevolgen heeft op de banden tussen mensen. Integendeel: de aanwezigheid van immigranten in een regio komt ten goede aan de sociale banden tussen de mensen in die regio.
Het NWO-onderzoek is in juni gepubliceerd is in het tijdschrift Social Science Research.
Een toename van immigranten in een regio leidt er toe dat autochtonen meer allochtone vrienden en collega’s krijgen. Dit soort contact heeft weer een positieve uitwerking op het onderhouden van nauwe banden met andere autochtonen, ontdekten de onderzoekers.
Minister Donner gaat met zijn integratienota voorbij aan de al jarenlange stabiele steun van Nederlanders voor de multiculturele samenleving. De opvattingen van autochtonen zijn anders dan de scherpe toon van het publieke debat suggereert.
Leerlingen van groep 7 van de Amersfoortse Bilalschool hebben vandaag een gesprek gehad met nabestaanden uit de rouwstoet die zij eerder deze week verstoorden. Dat gesprek was open en hartelijk, staat in een persbericht van school en nabestaanden.
Bij het incident waren enkele leerlingen van de basisschool betrokken, alhoewel de beledigende opmerkingen door andere kinderen zouden zijn gemaakt. Er wordt door de school verder onderzoek gedaan.