Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Dutch film-maker to be tried for hate speech

This afternoon we received word that the Court of Appeal in Amsterdam has ordered the criminal prosecution of Geert Wilders, a Dutch member of parliament who produced a film last year linking the Quran to violence. The court said, "In a democratic system, hate speech is considered so serious that it is in the general interest to... draw a clear line." Wilders, however, said the judgement was an "attack on the freedom of expression".

While The Voice of the Martyrs does not agree or support some of the assertions made in the controversial film, neither do we agree with the court's decision to to prosecute the film-maker.  Freedom of expression must include the right to say things that some would consider offensive or even wrong. I am not convinced that it is possible to do as the court hopes to do (ie. draw a clear line) for reasons that I give in earlier blogs.  Quite simply, I am not a fan of hate speech laws.  Limiting the rights for others to express different opinions, represents a significant threat not only to freedom of expression and religious liberty but to democracy and the Rule of Law itself. This trend undermines two basic premises of the Rule of Law principle. The first is the shift from the objective (what was expressed) to the subjective (how was it received and/or perceived). This represents (as Mats Tunehag well stated) "a shift from freedom of speech to "freedom from hearing'; from the speaker to the hearer; from what was said to how it was perceived; from instigating violence to ‘I was offended'; from objective to subjective criteria and laws." The second Rule of Law principle that is being undermined by this trend is the loss of predictability. Laws and the consequences of breaking them should be predictable. But how can one know if what one says is going to offend someone, somewhere, for some reason? The law, therefore, becomes entirely subjective and liable to abuse, just as we see in the abusive use of blasphemy laws of Pakistan today.

Why don't you watch the film yourself and then give us your opinion whether this film can be properly considered criminal?

<a href="">Geert Wilders's film, Fitna, is criminal hate speech</a> | <a href="">BuzzDash polls</a>


Anonymous said...

The film by Geert Wilders was honest in its portrayal of radical muslim.The fact that it is called hate propaganda in Holland saddens me.I was born in holland and the freedom of speech was something we valued.The loss of freedom of speech will have dire consequences for democracy.There are examples where it can lead to as in totalitarian states.

Anonymous said...

When a religion uses violence then it must be brought into line. The fantics of Islam must be brought to justice. This movie is a warning to all democratic nations and those who love freedom to what can be expected if Islam is left to run wild.
Although the movie does spark indignation against the religion of Islam, one must remember it is being used by fanatics to justify their violence. It is time that the people of the Muslim faith show the respect to the countries they immigrate to. These countries have welcomed them in, giving them the freedom of democracy, if they can't show the same respect for other religions than they should move back to where they came from.
My uncle fought in Holland during the second world war to free them from the Nazis. The Dutch government needs to stand up for the rights that was paid for them by the blood of Dutch, Canadians, British and Americans who died there to buy that freedom. After all GOD does not force HIMSELF upon people but allows each to make his own choice and HE respects that choice all the way to the grave, after that HIS judgement is passed, not before.
There is no way this a hate movie. It demonstrates the hate these fanatics have for democracy and freedom.

Esther Middleton said...

Perhaps those who complained can show the rest of us where Geert Wilders made mistakes in what he stated in the film. If they cannot do this, then they need to stop being in denial.

Anonymous said...

Geert Wilders is a racist, and he does not deny that fact. He is proud of it. I do however think this clip is an honest portrayal of Islam. I went to school in Holland, had many Muslim friends who would tell me things like this. Seeing it is a whole other story. It shakes me to the core of my being and makes me wonder, why, instead of looking at clips like this, we are not out there more, proclaiming God's word of truth!

Anonymous said...

I don't see how he can be tried for a hate crime Islam is a religion of hate he is just showing and reporting what they are saying if anything Isalm should be on trial for the hate they spread around the world. They will make progress they already have however the bible which has never proved wrong in any of its prophcies will prove true again the Jews will go though the time of Jacob's trouble but there will be a 1000 year reign of Christ and Islam will be no more.