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20 Jan, 2010 14:32

Dutch anti-Islam politician goes on trial

The trial of a Dutch anti-Islam politician charged with hate crimes has begun in Amsterdam on Wednesday. It is a landmark case testing the limits of free speech in the Netherlands.

Geert Wilders has been charged with incitement of hatred and discrimination against Muslims.

In his short film, Fitna, he compared the Koran to Hitler’s Mein Kampf.

Supporters of Wilders have been demonstrating outside the Amsterdam court.

If Wilders is found guilty, he will face two years in prison. However, opponents believe that the exposure of the trial will give Wilders’ Freedom Party a boost in next year’s election.

Helle Merete Brix, editor in chief of Sappho.dk, Denmark’s most outspoken web magazine on free speech, Islamism and anti-Semitism, told RT the result of the trial is crucial for freedom of speech across all of Europe.

“I think that Mr. Geert Wilders is the first politician in modern times who has had to stand trial for allegedly insulting a religious book and people,” Brix said. “I think Mr. Wilders has been very clear saying that it’s not that he has anything against Muslims. He sees a problem with Islam that he considers to be more of political and totalitarian ideology.”

“It’s very worrying if Mr. Wilders can’t say what he said about Islam and about the Koran,” she added. “Then what will other media be allowed to say in the future?”