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Dutch Court Acquits Anti-Islam Politician

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TEHRAN, June 23 (ICANA) – Right-wing Dutch politician, Geert Wilders, who has described Islam as "fascist", has been acquitted of all charges of inciting hatred against Muslims by a court in Amsterdam.
Thursday, June 23, 2011 10:24:56 PM
Dutch Court Acquits Anti-Islam Politician

"You are being acquitted on all the charges that were put against you," Judge Marcel van Oosten said on Thursday.

Wilders, 47, had been charged with five counts of hate speech and discrimination for his anti-Islamic statements on websites, internet forums, and in Dutch newspapers, AFP reported on Thursday.

The judge said that the remarks of the right-wing lawmaker “are acceptable within the context of the public debate,” adding “it did not give rise to hatred.”

The plaintiffs contend that his comments have led to a rise in discrimination and violence against Muslims.

Els Lucas, the plaintiffs' lawyer, expressed his disappointment at the court's verdict.

"We noticed that the court attached a lot of value to the statements Wilders made that he had nothing against Muslims," the lawyer said.

According to Polly van Dijk, a spokeswoman for the Amsterdam court, as Wilders walked away from his charges, the court's decision cannot be appealed in the Netherlands.

However, lawyers for the plaintiffs intend to take the case to the UN's human rights committee or the European Court.

Wilders made headlines worldwide in March 2008 after making the anti-Islam controversial movie, Fitna. The movie sought to desecrate the holy Qur'an and promote angry protests across the world.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon described Wilders' movie as 'offensively anti-Islamic. The European Parliament also banned the screening of the film, saying it provoked hatred.

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