I just learned about the acquittal of Dutch MP Geert Wilders for his hate speech against Islam. The Netherlands court ruled that his remarks couldn’t be linked directly to discrimination of Muslims.
As an American and a journalist, I believe free speech and free press is an important foundation of our society. We tolerate a lot in order to preserve these freedoms, as they are not supported or believed in worldwide. Protecting people’s speech I believe is essential to allow difference of opinions and the ability to criticize corruption and wrongdoing, especially when feelings are so subjective and unpredictable, however I do not think we should abuse that privilege through clearly, pre-meditated obscenity, hate and incitement.
Nevertheless, our courts will not simply charge someone for being offensive or hurting others unless they are trying to attack a group and threaten them with violence, so it’s all about words moving action. This is fine by me for the most part. I think it’s part of life that we have to deal with people saying mean, rude or crude things, but we must show we are the bigger person and ignore them. Don’t let weak people overpower you, is my philosophy.
Unfortunately, some people erroneously believe Muslims by law do not tolerate dissent, criticism or insults and are mandated to react with violence. Somehow because a few people were vocal in opposition to cartoons or filmmakers, they think all Muslims are as sensitive as children.
We’re not sensitive-we’re mature and don’t appreciate obscene and vulgar argumentation that doesn’t provide any benefit or truth.
Muslims do not obsess about inciting hate against other religions, drawing cartoons, creating pornographic films, insulting faiths as ideologies that are backwards. Yes there are certain individuals who are vengeful and hateful, but no one is drawing up political votes and favor for this and comparing groups to Nazism as Wilders has done.
If Wilders thought he was actually making constructive criticism or logical statements, then he would have no need to be ostentatious, vulgar and confrontational about Islam. If he truly has no problem with Muslims, just Islam, then he wouldn’t be campaigning so hard to eliminate them. It makes no sense to say you respect someone, but find everything about them despicable. Wilders trying to act like he’s not Islamophobic is like trying to act like slave-owners are not racist.
Why is Islam used as the test for how far freedom of expression is? Every single group from Jews, Catholics, blacks, Mexicans has been insulted and react vocally, sometimes violently through history yet they are never pushed and prodded triumphantly and patriotically?
Though I accept his acquittal since he didn’t support violence, I find it in poor, poor taste to see people like him abuse the noble principle of freedom of speech for such ridiculous, ugly causes. Disgraceful really that he thinks we all gave him a “burden.” Hah!
The demonstrators in Syria, Libya and the rest of the Arab world are the real heroes of freedom of speech, fighting for liberty, dignity and respect for quality of life against real corruption.
No one’s saying you can’t discuss Islam or other religions in public debate, Wilders. You may have the ability to say what you want, but just know that you don’t have the monopoly of truth and I hope people display moral courage to ignore your fallacy-ridden, fear mongering and look to intelligent, rational and humble people for knowledge and discussion. You are a cult of personality and eventually, the hysteria and fanaticism around you will disperse and move on to something else. You are being used and you don’t even know it.
At least it’s good to see people are understanding that Wilders is using the Islam issue to further his career by riding off of popular sentiment as most politicians do. Forget investing in gold. The anti-Islamic book market is a sure-fire way to make a quick buck. Watch him come out with a memoir or TV special documenting his morally-superior battle to fight intolerance. Coming to a Barnes and Noble near you….