A court in the Netherlands has found popular anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders guilty of "discrimination" for leading a chant against Moroccans at a 2014 campaign rally.
This, in the first European country to criminalize dissenting opinions about Islam.
It is also the country, writes Giulio Meotti, "whose most outspoken filmmaker was slaughtered by an Islamist; whose bravest refugee, hunted by a fatwa, fled to the U.S.; whose cartoonists must live under protection…"
Wilders was convicted but sentenced to no punishment on Friday for controversial comments he made at an election rally in The Hague in March 2014. He asked supporters whether they wanted "fewer or more Moroccans in your city and in the Netherlands," and the crowd shouted back, "Fewer! Fewer!" Wilders then answered with a smile, "We're going to organize that."
According to Meotti, "Many newly-arrived Moroccans in the Netherlands seem to have been responsible for a disproportionate amount of crime there."
Paul Cliteur, Professor of Jurisprudence at Leiden University, is one of those who was not happy with the ruling. "It would have been better if the Dutch state had sent a clear signal via a Dutch court that we foster a broad notion of the freedom of expression in the Netherlands," he stated.
Wilders' far-right Freedom Party (PVV) has gained significantly in the polls since his conviction. If the elections were held today, a national poll finds that PVV would win 36 out of 150 seats in the lower house of parliament, making it the biggest single political group. It currently has 12 seats.
Wilders later twitted, "Three PVV-hating judges declare Moroccans a race and convict me and half of the Netherlands. Insane."
"I will continue to speak the truth regardless, including about the Moroccan problem, and no judge, politician or 'terrorist' will stop me," Wilders also said.
In the past, Wilders has vowed to confiscate Korans, close mosques and Islamic schools, shut the borders and ban migrants from Islamic countries.