Pol Who Called Islam Fascist Acquitted of Hate Charges
Geert Wilders calls verdict 'victory for freedom of expression'
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 23, 2011 9:12 AM CDT
Presiding judge Marcel van Oosten, talks to right-wing politician Geert Wilders in court as he is acquitted of charges relating to hate speech and discrimination, in Amsterdam, Thursday June 23, 2011,...   (AP Photo/Robin Utrecht, Pool)
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(Newser) – A right-wing politician in the Netherlands who called Islam "fascist" and compared the Koran to Mein Kampf has been acquitted of inciting hatred against Muslims, reports the BBC. "It's not only an acquittal for me, but a victory for freedom of expression in the Netherlands," said Geert Wilders, whose supporters greeted the verdict with applause.

The judge called Wilders' remarks "gross and degenerating," but found that they did not give rise to hatred. They were "acceptable within the context of public debate," he added. Wilders was charged with inciting hatred in January 2009, because of comments he made in speeches, articles, and in his anti-Islam movie, Fitna. Plantiffs had been seeking a symbolic one euro fine, and say they are considering taking the case to the European Court of Human Rights.