COMMENTARY: Tolerant Holland Sticks It to Free Speech


The unusual career of Dutch politician Geert Wilders has fascinated me for years. Wilders, who leads the right-wing Dutch Party for Freedom, has been a vocal critic of Islam and Muslim immigration. His outspoken disdain for the changing demographics in the Netherlands has resulted in numerous death threats. Wilders now lives like a prisoner in his own country. Every day, he and his wife are ferried around to secret locations in military bases and safe houses by a special detachment of the Dutch police.

As though Wilders’ disrupted lifestyle were not a sufficient price to pay for speaking his mind, a Dutch court in 2011 attempted to convict him of hate speech when he compared Islam with fascism. You see, the Netherlands is blessed with what has become the vogue in many European countries—“hate speech” laws that prohibit criticism of religion. Happily, the case against Wilders was eventually thrown…



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