A Dutch court is forced to compare Hitler's 'Mein Kampf' and the Quran.
What started as a trial against Geert Wilders for alleged Islamophobia has nearly turned into its opposite: a historical case about the message of the Quran. The Amsterdam court trying the controversial Dutch politician is now preoccupied with the question of whether this book, sacred to more than a billion believers, can be compared to one of the most vile publications in the history of Western civilization—Hitler's "Mein Kampf." What could possibly go wrong?
In his writing and speeches, Mr. Wilders has found these two works to be similar in terms of their anti-Semitism and incitement to hatred, and has thus called for a publishing ban on the Quran similar to the one in place for "Mein Kampf." This is what triggered Mr. Wilders's prosecution for discriminatory and insulting remarks against Muslims and Islam. The Dutch politician, though, denies having insulted Muslims. He insists his focus is on radical Islam and the Quran, which he considers to be not only a religious text but also a political pamphlet encouraging Muslims to discriminate against and, if necessary, kill Jews, Christians, apostates and other unbelievers. That's why Mr. Wilders claims the right to criticize and condemn Islam.
Following complaints brought by mostly Muslim and radical leftist activists,
According to polls, Mr. Wilders's Freedom Party, a libertarian-conservative movement with populist tendencies, is currently the most popular political party in the
More importantly, Mr. Wilders's prosecution may in the end inadvertently create a crisis between the
The prosecution did not object to calling the witnesses for the purpose of shedding light on the Quran and "Mein Kampf" and only objected to the high number of witnesses named (17). The court will thus most likely allow most witnesses on the list to testify. Without doubt, there are many anti-Jewish remarks in the Quran. According to some researchers, there may be more of these in the Quran than in "Mein Kampf." So it is quite conceivable that the court will judge that Geert Wilders was within his right to compare the Quran to "Mein Kampf." Anything is possible in this absurd trial.
The three judges hearing the case—no doubt decent, modest, postmodern Dutchmen with a minimum knowledge of Islam and its culture and traditions—will now be forced to debate the nature of a religious text, something that should have never been heard in the court of an enlightened society. In front of the judges and television cameras, the ancient founding text of an entire civilization will be criticized and weighed against one of the most inhumane texts written in the 20th century—without any doubt a deep insult to Muslims, radical or not.
There is a way out. The district attorney's office has complied with the appeals court's order to prosecute Mr. Wilders. The trial has started. It should now ask the court for an acquittal. This preposterous trial needs to be stopped right now.
Mr. de Winter is a Dutch novelist and adjunct fellow at the Hudson Institute.
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