Friday, March 14, 2008
Dutch Establishment Threatens to Prosecute Wilders and Claim Damages
From the desk of Thomas Landen
Geert Wilders, the Dutch politician who is making a 10-minute movie about Islam entitled Fitna (Arabic for “ordeal”), has felt compelled to cancel the March 28 press conference where he intended to show his film. The Nieuwspoort press center in The Hague, which is run by a board of journalists, publishers and government press officers, demanded that Wilders pay 400,000 euros for extra safety measures. “Apparently, you have to be a millionaire to organize such an event,” Mr Wilders said. “Even if I had the money I am not going to spend it on a press conference.”
No Dutch broadcaster, public or private, has been willing to show the film. There are indications that Fitna will also be banned on Youtube, which removed a clip featuring Mr Wilders two week ago, on so-called “ethical grounds”.
Dutch international companies, fearing a boycott of their products by Muslims, have announced that they intend to hold Mr Wilders responsible for a loss of profits and markets in the event of a boycott. They have asked Gerard Spong, one of the top lawyers in the Netherlands, to see whether a court case claiming damages from Wilders will be possible. Mr Spong and several other lawyers have already lodged some fifty formal complaints against the politician for “incitement to racial hatred and discrimination of Muslims” because Mr Wilders expressed the opinion that the Koran is “a fascist book which should be banned in the Netherlands.”
Last November, when Wilders announced he was going to make a movie expressing his view on Islam and the Koran, Doekle Terpstra, a member of the board of directors of the Anglo-Dutch multinational Unilever, told the Dutch media that “Geert Wilders is evil, and evil has to be stopped.” The Unilever director, anticipating a worldwide Muslim boycott of Unilever products (brands such as Axe, Ben and Jerry’s, Best Foods, Brooke Bond, Colman’s, Cif, Dove, Glidat Strauss, Heartbrand, Hellmann’s, Imperial Margarine, Knorr, Lipton, Pepsodent, Sunsilk, Unox, Vaseline, etc.), called upon the Dutch to “rise in order to stop Wilders from preaching his evil message.”
Mr Wilders, a member of the Dutch parliament, has been living under police protection for almost four years. Muslim fanatics have threatened to assassinate him for his outspoken criticism of Islam. The politician has no fixed residence and has to live in army barracks or other heavily secured premises.
1) Dutch Establishment Threatens to Prosecute Wilders and Claim Damages