The timing of this, given my interview with Ayaan Hirsi Ali the other day, is almost too perfect. Geert Wilders, the Dutch member of parliament who made a film comparing statements in the Quran to Nazism, will face hate speech charges in his home country. This idiotic statement from the ruling jumps out:
“In a democratic system, hate speech is considered so serious that it is in the general interest to… draw a clear line,” the court in Amsterdam said.
This is nonsense. Hate speech laws have nothing to do with democracy. They can exist in democratic systems or non-democratic systems. In either case, however, they violate rightful liberty. Especially in the ironic circumstance where a man makes a film accusing radical Muslims of using violence to suppress criticism and now has to live under armed guard because those very people who object to the accusation are proving it to be true.
This is, after all, the same country where Theo Van Gogh was brutally murdered and a letter stuck to his body by a large knife saying that Ayaan Hirsi Ali would be next for helping him make a film about the mistreatment of women under Islam. And she should certainly know about such mistreatment, having been forced to undergo a clitorectomy at five years old.
“How dare you say we are violent? We will kill you for saying that!” There is plenty to criticize Wilders about. During her talk the other day, Hirsi Ali made clear that she disagrees with him on several things and thinks he tends to overgeneralize about Muslims too broadly. But to prosecute him is madness.