Feature

Netherlands: A double standard on hate speech

Why is it okay to say &ldquo;that communism is a dangerous ideology, but it&rsquo;s not okay to say the same of Islamism?&rdquo; asked Sandra Olsthoorn in <em>Binnenlands Bestuur.</em>

Sandra OlsthoornBinnenlands Bestuur

An insult is only considered “hate speech” if it is made by the Right, said Sandra Olsthoorn. That’s the sole conclusion we can draw from the prosecution of Geert Wilders. The far-right member of parliament is being prosecuted for hate speech for his film Fitna, which is highly critical of Islam. He has fallen down the slippery slope in Dutch society, where “criticism of Islam is tantamount to racism, and it’s a short step from there to fascism.” To be sure, Wilders himself brought on such hysteria by comparing the Koran to Mein Kampf. That was an ignorant and repellent thing to do. But why is it okay to say “that communism is a dangerous ideology, but it’s not okay to say the same of Islamism?” Why does nobody prosecute the left-wing youth who hold rallies protesting the treatment of Palestinians and call for the end of Israel? The answer is that we have a “double standard,” in which “the Right is by definition suspect.”

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