European countries crack down on 'hate speech' [Excerpts]
Geert Wilders (Dutch Freedom Party), an author and critic of Islam says the recent decision by a Dutch court to prosecute a Dutch lawmaker for comparing the Koran to Hitler's Mein Kampf does not bode well for the future of free speech rights in the United States.
The Islamic world complained, but last year prosecutors decided against launching a case against Wilders, saying his strident anti-Islamic statements were "hurtful to Muslims, but not criminal."
But now the Amsterdam Appeals Court has ruled that prosecutors will launch a hate-speech case against Wilders. Robert Spencer [ director of Jihad Watch] says this case is part of a larger effort to criminalize any discussion of Islam to which jihadists object.
"The Organization of the Islamic Conference, which is 57 Muslim governments around the world, is making a concerted effort at the United Nations to criminalize any discussion of the elements of Islam that jihadists use to make recruits and justify their actions," he contends.
Spencer says the Wilders prosecution shows that Europe is falling in line with the Islamic initiative to prosecute anyone who engages in what the Islamists say is hate speech. He adds that could affect the free speech rights of Americans as well.
"Especially at a time when the Obama administration has announced its intention to bring the United States into line with European sensibilities about this and closer to the U.N.," he points out. "And with both Europe and the U.N giving way on free speech at a rapid clip, that bodes ill for our freedoms in the United States."