Dutch far-right leader Geert Wilders has been found guilty of hate speech.
Geert Wilders, a Dutch politician known for his anti-Islamic stance, was convicted by a Netherlands court on charges of making hate speeches. He was pronounced guilty of insulting groups and also inciting discrimination against Dutch Moroccans. Wilders has denounced the judgment as “madness.”
Wilders, who is 53-years-old, is not alone in inciting hate. He is among an increasingly large number of populist European politicians who take advantage of anti-establishment anger. The latter is the fallout of a sluggish Netherlands economy and concerns about immigration. He is regularly compared to another demagogue businessperson turned politician and president-elect of the United States, Donald Trump. The former has also adopted Trump's signature slogan and made it to “Make The Netherlands Great Again.” He also tweeted during the U.S. election night, “The people are taking their country back, so will we.”
— Geert Wilders (@geertwilderspvv) April 26, 2016
Florida and Utah for @realDonaldTrump
The people are taking their country back.
So will we.
— Geert Wilders (@geertwilderspvv) November 9, 2016
Wilders is the present leader of the Freedom Party, a far right political outfit. His party has enjoyed a leading position in recent national polls. There is more than an even chance that it could achieve pole position during the March 2017 elections scheduled to be held in the Netherlands.
Wilders harbors extreme views when it comes to immigrants and Muslims. He has told supporters that if he becomes the Prime Minister, his government will close mosques and ban the Koran. Immigration from Muslim countries will also be stopped. He is also said to be in agreement with Netherlands following the example set by the United Kingdom and would vote to move away from the European Union. He and his supporters refer to the latter as a “Nexit” referendum.
The Netherlands court was, however, more circumspect in their sentencing. Hendrik Steenhuis, the presiding judge, did not heed to impose a fine of €5,000 euros as demanded by prosecutors. He said that Wilders would not be imposed such a sentence. In lieu, the judge said, such a conviction was adequate punishment for a democratically elected politician.
Geert Wilders, Anti-Islam Dutch Politician, Guilty Of Inciting Discrimination. He's an ally of many Republicans btw https://t.co/nQdHxNtgpW
— Wajahat Ali (@WajahatAli) December 10, 2016
The trial concentrated on a 2014 episode that takes place inside a cafe in The Hague. Wilders, in the presence of television cameras, asked his supporters whether they prefer fewer Moroccans to be residents in Netherlands. His supporters concurred and he said that, if elected, “we’ll take care of it.”