Netherlands: Insulting Islam doesn't automatically insult all Muslims

Netherlands: Insulting Islam doesn't automatically insult all Muslims

Whoever insults Islam doesn't automatically offend all Muslims too, according to a decision today by the Dutch supreme court.  The decision is of great importance for the approaching criminal case against PVV head Geert Wilders.

The verdict given today by the supreme court concerned a man who hung a poster on his window saying "Stop the tumor called Islam".  According to the district court and, in appeal, the Den Bosch court, this statement was seen as 'insulting for a group of people due to their religion (article 137c)', 'considering the strong connection between Islam and its believers'.  Therefore the poster hanger got two weeks suspended sentence.

But the supreme court acquitted the man today.  Since, in contrast to the court, the Supreme court doesn't think that if you insult a religion, you also insult its followers as well.

This reasoning of the highest court is good news for PVV head Geert Wilders.  The public prosecution was recently tasked by the Amsterdam court with prosecuting Wilders, also for 'insulting a group of people because of their faith'.

The decision of the supreme court means that the judge who would soon decide about Wilders' statements, would have to examine very meticulously whether the texts of Wilders are specifically related to a specific group of people (Muslims).  If they are only related to a religion (Islam), that is not sufficient for conviction based on article 137c.

The decision by the supreme court today is not related to the 'inciting hatred' offense for which Wilders is also being put on trial.

Source: Trouw (Dutch)

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