Dutch Critic of Islam Wants Extremist Killer to Testify at His Trial
by Patrick Goodenough
February 3, 2010
(CNSNews.com) – As the trial of Dutch anti-Islamist lawmaker Geert Wilders resumes Wednesday, the crucial question will be whether the court agrees to his request to have a Muslim extremist and convicted murderer testify.
Wilders, who faces charges of discrimination and incitement to hatred over his claims linking the Koran to violence, wants the court to hear from an extremist who cited the Islamic text to justify his crime.
Mohammed Bouyeri is serving a life sentence for murdering Dutch film director Theo van Gogh, who had stoked controversy with a documentary about the treatment of women under Islam.
Van Gogh was stabbed and shot to death on a street in Amsterdam street in 2004. In a note left pinned to his body with a knife, Bouyeri threatened to kill another person reviled by extremist Muslims in Europe – Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somalia-born Dutch politician who worked with Van Gogh on his film.
The lengthy note, which also warned that America, Europe and the Netherlands would be destroyed, included numerous references to the Koran.
Bouyeri, a Dutchman of Moroccan origin, had earlier penned another open letter posted on a Dutch Web site, again quoting from the Koran, threatening Wilders this time and declaring, "May Allah destroy you."
During his 2005 trial, Bouyeri carried a copy of the Koran, told the court he had acted purely in the name of his religion, and displayed no regret for the murder.
By calling Bouyeri as a defense witness, Wilders aims to bolster his case that as extremist Muslims themselves use the Koran to justify their violent actions, he should not be prosecuted for essentially telling the truth.
Bouyeri is one of more than a dozen witnesses Wilders wants to call upon during his trial. Others include experts on Islam and legal scholars.
When the trial opened last month, prosecutors opposed the request. Wilders told the judges that without the witnesses, he could not receive a fair trial.
"Something that is true can't be a criminal offence," Dutch television quoted him as telling the court. "I have to be able to defend myself. I have to be able to show I have spoken the truth."
In his statement, Wilders also addressed the accusations of spreading hatred.
"I have nothing against Muslims," he said. "I have a problem with the Islam and the Islamization of our country."
The trial then went into recess while the judges considered the witness request.
In March 2008, Wilders released a short documentary entitled Fitna (an Arabic word in the Koran translated as "strife" or "ordeal"), which intersperses graphic images of terrorism with translated verses from the Koran and clips of Muslim clerics endorsing violence.
Also included were snippets of interviews with Van Gogh and newspaper headlines relating to Islamic death threats against others – Hirsi Ali, British author Salman Rushdie, and Wilders.
Viewed by millions online, Fitna caused an uproar in the Islamic world. Muslims believe the Koran, in the original Arabic, to be the infallible "final revelation" of Allah to Mohammed.
A year ago an appeals court in Amsterdam instructed prosecutors to indict Wilders, who leads the Freedom Party, for "inciting hatred and discrimination."
The charges relate not just to Wilders' film but, in the words of the three-judge panel's ruling, to "comments by him in various media on Muslims and their beliefs."
"The court also considers appropriate criminal prosecution for insulting Muslim worshippers because of comparisons between Islam and Nazism made by Wilders," the judges stated.
In 2007, Wilders wrote an open letter, published in a Dutch newspaper, in which he called the Koran a "fascist" text that should be outlawed in the Netherlands, in the same way as Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf is banned.
If convicted, Wilders faces up to16 months in prison or a fine of about $14,000.
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Related Topics: Geert Wilders
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